Estrogen stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor 1α through G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 in eutopic endometrium of endometriosis

G protein-coupled estrogen receptor stabilizes HIF-1a in eutopic endometrium of endometriosis, which may play an important role in endometriosis.

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Volume 107, Issue 2, Pages 439–447


Ling Zhang, M.D., Wenqian Xiong, M.D., Na Li, M.D., Hengwei Liu, M.D., Haitang He, M.D., Yu Du, M.D., Zhibing Zhang, Ph.D., Yi Liu, Ph.D.



To investigate whether G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER, also known as GPR30 and GPER1) stabilizes hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) in eutopic endometrium (EuEM) of endometriosis.


Immunohistochemical analysis and experimental in vitro study.


University hospital.


Patients with or without endometriosis.


The EuEM and normal control endometrium (CoEM) were obtained by curettage. Primary cultured endometrial stromal cells (ESCs) were treated with 17β-E2, G1, or G15.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The EuEM and CoEM were collected for immunohistochemistry. Western blot, polymerase chain reaction, ELISA, and dual luciferase experiments were used to detect expression of GPER, HIF-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) in ESCs. Estradiol and G1 were used as agonists of GPER, G15 as an antagonist. Migration of ESCs and endothelial tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells cultured in medium collected from ESCs were measured.


Protein levels of GPER and HIF-1α were higher in EuEM than in CoEM. Protein levels of HIF-1α but not HIF-1α mRNA levels increased concurrently with GPER after E2 and G1 treatment. Furthermore, expression and activity of VEGF and MMP9 increased under E2 and G1 stimulation. However, these effects disappeared when GPER was blocked.


G protein-coupled estrogen receptor stabilizes HIF-1α and thus promotes HIF-1α–induced VEGF and MMP9 in ESCs, which play critical roles in endometriosis.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.