FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Hyperglycosylated human chorionic gonadotropin stimulates angiogenesis through TGF-β receptor activation.

PMID 23233533


Embryo implantation requires extensive angiogenesis at the maternal-fetal interface. Hyperglycosylated human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG-H), a trophoblast invasive signal produced by extravillous cytotrophoblasts and by choriocarcinoma, was evaluated for its angiogenic role. hCG-H was purified by HPLC from choriocarcinoma supernatant, and the glycosylation pattern was determined by 2D gel analysis. Angiogenesis models used were aortic ring assay with wild-type and LHCGR-knockout mice, endothelial and mural cell proliferation, and migration assays. The TGF-β signaling pathway was studied by coimmunoprecipitation, competitive binding, TGF-β reporter gene assays, and Smad immunoblotting. hCG-H displayed a potent angiogenic effect [3.2-fold increase of number of vessel intersections in wild-type aortic rings (11.406 to 36.964)]. hCG-H-induced angiostimulation was independent of the classic hCG signaling pathway since it persisted in LHCGR-knockout mice [4.73-fold increase of number of vessel intersections (10.826 to 51.288)]. Using TGF-β signaling inhibitors, Tβ-RII was identified as the hCG-H receptor responsible for its angiogenic switch. hCG-H exposure enhanced phosphorylation of Smad 2 in endothelial and mural cells and genomic activation of Smad-responsive elements. Interaction between hCG-H and Tβ-RII was demonstrated by coimmunoprecipitation and binding competition with (125)I-TGF-β. This new paracrine interaction between trophoblast and endothelial cells through the hCG-H and the TGF-β receptor complex plays a key role in angiogenesis associated with placental development and tumorigenesis.