Reproductive Sciences

, Volume 18, Issue 11, pp 1138–1145 | Cite as

Regulation of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition by Homeobox Gene DLX4 in JEG-3 Trophoblast Cells: A Role in Preeclampsia

  • Yun-Yan SunEmail author
  • Meng Lu
  • Xiao-Wei Xi
  • Qin-Qin Qiao
  • Ling-Ling Chen
  • Xian-Ming Xu
  • You-Ji Feng
Original Articles


The pathogenesis of preeclampsia is unclear but is thought to be related to shallow trophoblast invasion. An invasive phenotype is acquired by trophoblasts through the process of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). We proposed that EMT in trophoblasts is deregulated in preeclampsia. The homeobox gene DLX4 plays an important role in epithelial-mesenchymal interactions during embryonic and placental development. To elucidate the role of DLX4 in trophoblast EMT and preeclampsia, we investigated the expression of DLX4 in preeclampsia-affected placentas and the effect of DLX4 on EMT in trophoblast-derived JEG-3 cells. DLX4 expression was downregulated in preeclampsia-affected placentas and hypoxic JEG-3 cells. Knockdown of DLX4 by RNA interference (RNAi) inhibited the motility and invasion ability of JEG-3 cells, decreased the expression of E-cadherin, and upregulated the expression of the E-cadherin repressor Snail. Our findings suggest that decreased expression of DLX4 leads to the pathogenesis of preeclampsia by inhibiting EMT in trophoblasts and provides new insight into the pathophysiological mechanism of preeclampsia.


DLX4 homeobox gene preeclampsia epithelial-mesenchymal transition E-cadherin Snail 


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Copyright information

© Society for Reproductive Investigation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yun-Yan Sun
    • 1
    Email author
  • Meng Lu
    • 1
  • Xiao-Wei Xi
    • 1
  • Qin-Qin Qiao
    • 1
  • Ling-Ling Chen
    • 1
  • Xian-Ming Xu
    • 1
  • You-Ji Feng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyAffiliated First Hospital of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, ShanghaiShanghaiChina

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