Expression and regulation of endothelin precursor mRNA m avascular human amnion

Kenneth P. Sunnergren, R. Ann Word, Joseph F. Sambrook, Paul C. MacDonald, M. Linette Casey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Posttranslational processing of preproendothelin in endothelial cells gives rise to endothelin, a 21 amino acid polypeptide that is a potent vasoconstrictor. Endothelin production is believed to be mediated principally by transcriptional mechanisms. Previously, preproendothelin mRNA expression has been detected only in vascular endothelial tissue and cells. In this study, we found that preproendothelin mRNA is expressed m an avascular human tissue, namely, amnion, an extraembryonic fetal membrane. Preproendothelin mRNA was not detected in avascular chorion laeve tissue (also an extraembryonic fetal membrane), in the highly vascularized fetal trophoblast, or in maternal uterine tissues. Furthermore, we found that preproendothelin gene expression is retained in human amnion cells maintained in primary monolayer culture. Using the amnion cells in primary monolayer culture to investigate the regulation of preproendothelin mRNA expression, we found that epidermal growth factor (EGF) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) act to stimulate preproendothelin mRNA levels; in addition, the induction of preproendothelin mRNA by either of these agents is enhanced upon simultaneous treatment with cycloheximide. These findings are indicative that preproendothelin gene expression in amnion is regulated positively by EGF and IL-1 and that inhibition of protein synthesis leads to superinduction of preproendothelin mRNA. In human umbilical cord endothelial cells, neither IL-1 nor EGF stimulate preproendothelin mRNA expression but inhibition of protein synthesis does lead to increased levels of preproendothelin mRNA. The amnion, therefore, provides a useful system for expansion of our understanding of the tissue specific expression and regulation of preproendothelin mRNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R7-R14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 1990


  • Amnion
  • Cycloheximide
  • Endothelin
  • Epidermal growth factor
  • Interleukin-1
  • Parturition
  • Volume homeostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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