Extracts of human term amnion, placenta, and chorion/decidual tissue (n = 5) contained gastrin-releasing peptide-like immunoreactivity (GRPLI) in amounts of 4.7 ± 2.9 (pmol/g wet wt; mean ± SEM), 3.6 ± 1.1 and 2.9 ± 1.5, respectively. Using C-terminally directed antisera and gel filtration chromatography and reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), each tissue contained molecular forms consistent with the presence of GRP1-27 and GRP18-27 but also contained larger amounts of two GRPLI peaks, which apparently are novel GRP-like peptides. In contrast, tissue extracts of human fetal lung contained only GRP1-27, GRP14-27, and GRP18-27. Using RT-PCR and specific GRP primers and probes, messenger RNA encoding for GRP was readily demonstrable from 6-weeks gestation throughout pregnancy to term in full-thickness membranes, placental villi, and decidua. Positive immunohistochemical staining for GRP occurred in extravillous trophoblasts in decidual septa and fetal membranes, cytotrophoblasts, syncytiotrophoblast, and certain stromal cells in placental villi and amniotic epithelium. GRPLI and GRP messenger RNA were present from the earliest dates examined (6-9 weeks) throughout pregnancy to term. Given the proven trophic nature of GRP and related peptides, these peptides may play important roles in maternal, placental, and fetal development during human pregnancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical