MicroRNA-200a serves a key role in the decline of progesterone receptor function leading to term and preterm labor

Koriand'r C. Williams, Nora E. Renthal, Jennifer C. Condon, Robert D. Gerard, Carole R. Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


During pregnancy, uterine quiescence is maintained by increased progesterone receptor (PR) activity, but labor is facilitated by a series of events that impair PR function. Previously, we discovered that miR-200 family members serve as progesterone (P4)-modulated activators of contraction-associated genes in the pregnant uterus. In this study, we identified a unique role for miR-200a to enhance the local metabolism of P 4 in myometrium and, thus, decrease PR function during the progression toward labor. miR-200a exerts this action by direct repression of STAT5b, a transcriptional repressor of the P4-metabolizing enzyme 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD). We observed that miR-200a expression increased and STAT5b expression coordinately decreased in myometrium of mice as they progressed to labor and in laboring myometrium from pregnant women. These changes were associated with a dramatic increase in expression and activity of 20α-HSD in laboring myometrium from mouse and human. Notably, overexpression of miR-200a in cultured human myometrial cells (hTERT-HM) suppressed STAT5b and increased 20α-HSD mRNA levels. In uterine tissues of ovariectomized mice injected with P4, miR-200 expression was significantly decreased, STAT5b expression was up-regulated, and 20α-HSD mRNA was decreased, but in 15 d postcoitum pregnant mice injected with the PR antagonist RU486, preterm labor was associated with increased miR-200a, decreased STAT5b, and enhanced 20α-HSD expression. Taken together, these findings implicate miR-200a as an important regulator of increased local P4 metabolism in the pregnant uterus near term and provide insight into the importance of miR-200s in the decline in PR function leading to labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7529-7534
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 8 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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