Although Hmgn1 is involved in the regulation of gene expression and cellular differentiation, its physiological roles on the differentiation of uterine stromal cells during decidualization still remain unknown. Here we showed that Hmgn1 mRNA was highly expressed in the decidua on days 6-8 of pregnancy. Simultaneously, increased expression of Hmgn1 was also observed in the artificial and in vitro induced decidualization models. Hmgn1 induced the proliferation of uterine stromal cells and expression of Ccna1, Ccnb1, Ccnb2 and Cdk1 in the absence of estrogen and progesterone. Overexpression of Hmgn1 could enhance the expression of Prl8a2 and Prl3c1 which were 2 well-known differentiation markers for decidualization, whereas inhibition of Hmgn1 with specific siRNA could reduce their expression. Further studies found that Hmgn1 could mediate the effects of C/EBPβ on the expression of Prl8a2 and Prl3c1 during in vitro decidualization. In the uterine stromal cells, cAMP analog 8-Br-cAMP could stimulate the expression of Hmgn1 via C/EBPβ. Moreover, siRNA-mediated down-regulation of Hmgn1 could attenuate the effects of cAMP on the differentiation of uterine stromal cells. During in vitro decidualization, Hmgn1 might act downstream of C/EBPβ to regulate the expression of Cox-2, mPGES-1 and Vegf. Progesterone could up-regulate the expression of Hmgn1 in the ovariectomized mouse uterus, uterine epithelial cells and stromal cells. Knockdown of C/EBPβ with siRNA alleviated the up-regulation of progesterone on Hmgn1 expression. Collectively, Hmgn1 may play an important role during mouse decidualization.
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