Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Modulates the Transcriptome of the Myometrium and Cervix in Late Gestation

Kenichiro Motomura, Roberto Romero, Jose Galaz, Derek Miller, Bogdan Done, Marcia Arenas-Hernandez, Valeria Garcia-Flores, Li Tao, Adi L. Tarca, Nardhy Gomez-Lopez

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2 Scopus citations


Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a critical hormone for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. hCG administration prevents the onset of preterm labor in mice; yet, the transcriptomic changes associated with this tocolytic effect that take place in the myometrium and cervix have not been elucidated. Herein, we implemented both discovery and targeted approaches to investigate the transcriptome of the myometrium and cervix after hCG administration. Pregnant mice were intraperitoneally injected with 10 IU of hCG on 13.0, 15.0, and 17.0 days post coitum, and the myometrium and cervix were collected. RNA sequencing was performed to determine differentially expressed genes, enriched biological processes, and impacted KEGG pathways. Multiplex qRT-PCR was performed to investigate the expression of targeted contractility- and inflammation-associated transcripts. hCG administration caused the differential expression of 720 genes in the myometrium. Among the downregulated genes, enriched biological processes were primarily associated with regulation of transcription. hCG administration downregulated key contractility genes, Gja1 and Oxtr, but upregulated the prostaglandin-related genes Ptgfr and Ptgs2 and altered the expression of inflammation-related genes in the myometrium. In the cervix, hCG administration caused differential expression of 3348 genes that were related to inflammation and host defense, among others. The downregulation of key contractility genes and upregulation of prostaglandin-related genes were also observed in the cervix. Thus, hCG exerts tocolytic and immunomodulatory effects in late gestation by altering biological processes in the myometrium and cervix, which should be taken into account when considering hCG as a potential treatment to prevent the premature onset of labor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2246-2260
Number of pages15
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • hCG
  • Hormones
  • Labor
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Myometrial quiescence
  • Parturition
  • RNA sequencing
  • Tocolytic


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