Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1: a key regulatory protein involved in leiomyoma growth

Reproductive Diseases

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VOLUME 2, ISSUE 4, P396-406, NOVEMBER 01, 2021


Anthony M. DeAngelis, M.D., Ph.D., Minnie Malik, Ph.D., Joy Britten, M.D., Paul Driggers, Ph.D., William H. Catherino, M.D., Ph.D. 



To assess and characterize the role of carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1) in the development of uterine leiomyoma.


Laboratory study.


Academic research center.


Not applicable.


Laboratory investigation. In vitro assessment of human leiomyoma and myometrial tissue specimens as well as immortalized leiomyoma and myometrial cell lines.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Western blotting and immunohistochemical analyses were performed to assess differences in CEACAM1 content between leiomyoma and myometrial samples. Small interfering RNA silencing experiments and transient transfection experiments were performed to characterize the regulatory role of CEACAM1 on downstream signaling cascades.


Analysis of RNA sequencing data revealed decreased CEACAM1 expression in human uterine leiomyoma specimens compared with that in myometrial samples. This translated to a significant down-regulation in CEACAM1 protein content in human leiomyoma compared with patient-matched myometrial tissue samples (0.236 ± 0.05-fold). A similar decrease in CEACAM1 protein content was observed in matched immortalized leiomyoma cell (ILC) and immortalized myometrial cell lines (0.21 ± 0.07). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed decreased staining intensity in leiomyoma surgical specimens compared with the matched myometrium of placebo patients. Lower CEACAM1 levels in leiomyoma were associated with increased activation of both the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B pathways compared with that in myometrial cells. This is significant because activation of these pathways plays an important role in leiomyoma growth. Treatment of myometrial cells with CEACAM1 small interfering RNA resulted in a significant down-regulation of CEACAM1 at the protein level (0.272 ± 0.06-fold) and was associated with increased activation of the MAPK (1.62 ± 0.21-fold) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (1.79 ± 0.35-fold) pathways, as well as increased collagen production (2.1 ± 0.49-fold). Rescue of CEACAM1 expression in leiomyoma cells by transient transfection restored regulatory control and resulted in lower activation of the MAPK pathway (0.58 ± 0.37-fold).


CEACAM1 is an important protein involved in regulating many signal transduction pathways. Decreased CEACAM1 expression in leiomyoma allows permissive uncontrolled overactivation and up-regulation of downstream pathways that may contribute to leiomyoma growth.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

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