Decanoic acid suppresses proliferation and invasiveness of human trophoblast cells by disrupting mitochondrial function

Changwon Yang, Whasun Lim, Fuller W. Bazer, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Decanoic acid (DA) is a medium-chain fatty acid used in the manufacture of various products including plastics, cosmetics, and lubricants. In addition to antiviral and antibacterial effects, DA's, reported biological activities include regulation of signaling pathways and redox homeostasis in various human cell types. The influence of DA on functional properties of human trophoblasts, including proliferation, invasion and apoptosis is currently unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-proliferative and anti-invasive effects of DA on the human trophoblast cell line HTR8/SVneo. In addition, DA induced oxidative stress, as evidenced by generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and induction of lipid peroxidation (LPO). This oxidative stress was accompanied by activation of the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway in HTR8/SVneo cells. We also observed elevated mitochondrial Ca2 +, and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential in response to DA treatment. Chelation of mitochondrial Ca2 + using BAPTA-AM rescued cellular proliferation suppressed by DA. We also verified that signaling proteins including AKT, P70S6K, S6, and ERK1/2 and their targets were significantly reduced in HTR8/SVneo cells by DA treatment. Pre-treatment of cells with selective inhibitors of AKT (LY294002) and ERK1/2 (U0126) revealed that the AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathways regulated by DA displayed cross-talk in HTR8/SVneo cells. Collectively, these results suggest that personal products containing DA will have harmful effects on human trophoblasts, and could cause implantation and placentation failure during early pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 15


  • Decanoic acid
  • Invasion
  • Mitochondria
  • Proliferation
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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