Increased CXCL12 expression in endometrium of women with abnormal uterine bleeding is post-transcriptionally mediated via miR-23b-3p and is associated with decreased expression of the miR-23b-3p/24-3p/27b-3p cluster: a pilot study

Reproductive Diseases

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1, P90-97


Fatimah Aljubran, M.S.,a Amanda Graham, B.S.,a Wei Cui, M.D.,b,c and Warren B. Nothnick, Ph.D., H.C.L.D.



To study C-X-C motif chemokine 12 (CXCL12) and CXCR4 expression in endometrial tissue from both women with and without abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) of endometrial origin and evaluate their relationship with microRNA (miRNA).


Retrospective and laboratory study.


University-based research laboratory.


Nine women with and without abnormal uterine bleeding, all of whom were in the secretory stage of their menstrual cycle, who provided endometrial biopsy tissue.


Immunohistochemical localization of CXCL12 and CXCR4 as well as quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) assessment of mRNA expression in archived endometrial biopsy tissue and in vitro cell culture using the immortalized endometrial stromal cell line, t-HESC. Endometrial stromal cell line, t-HESC transfection with nontargeting, negative control miRNA mimics or miRNA mimics for miR-23b-3p and mRNA assessment miR-23b-3p expression confirmed by qRT-PCR and evaluation of impact on CXCL12 expression at the protein level by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and mRNA levels by qRT-PCR.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Expression of CXCL12 and CXCR4 protein via immunohistochemistry and mRNA and miRNA levels of CXCL12 and CXCR4 as well as miR-23b-3p, miR-24b-3p, and miR-27b-3p, respectively, via qRT-PCR.


CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 expression were up-regulated in the endometrial tissue of women with AUB at the protein level, but this up-regulation of expression was only associated with increased CXCR4 mRNA expression. To evaluate whether CXCL12 may be post-transcriptionally regulated, we assessed expression of miR-23b-3p, a bona fide post-transcriptional regulator of CXCL12 expression. The expression of miR-23b-3p was statistically significantly lower in AUB endometrial tissue, as were fellow cluster members miR-24-3p and miR-27-3p. Transfection of t-HESC cells with pre-miR-23b-3p mimics statistically significantly reduced the levels of CXCL12 secreted protein but not mRNA levels, suggesting that miR-23b-3p retards protein translation independent of transcript degradation.


Reduced expression of the miR-23b-3p/24-3p/27b-3p cluster is associated with elevated expression of CXCL12, which may contribute to the pathophysiology of AUB.

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