Stimulatory Effects of Coumestrol on Embryonic and Fetal Development Through AKT and ERK1/2 MAPK Signal Transduction

Whasun Lim, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Successful establishment of pregnancy is required for fetal-maternal interactions regulating implantation, embryonic development and placentation. A uterine environment with insufficient growth factors and nutrients increases the incidence of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) leading to an impaired uterine environment. In the present study, we demonstrated the effects of the phytoestrogen coumestrol on conceptus development in the pig that is regarded as an excellent biomedical animal model for research on IUGR. Results of this study indicated that coumestrol induced migration of porcine trophectoderm (pTr) cells in a concentration-dependent manner. In response to coumestrol, the phosphorylation of AKT, P70S6K, S6, ERK1/2 MAPK, and P90RSK proteins were activated in pTr cells and ERK1/2 MAPK and P90RSK phosphorylation was prolonged for a longer period than for the other proteins. To identify the signal transduction pathway induced by coumestrol, pharmacological inhibitors U0126 (an ERK1/2 inhibitor) and LY294002 (a PI3K inhibitor) were used to pretreat pTr cells. The results showed that coumestrol-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/2 MAPK and P90RSK was blocked by U0126. In addition, the increased phosphorylation in response to coumestrol was completely inhibited following pre-treatment incubation of pTr cells in the presence of LY294002 and U0126. Furthermore, these two inhibitors suppressed the ability of coumestrol to induce migration of pTr cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that coumestrol affects embryonic development through activation of the PI3K/AKT and ERK1/2 MAPK cell signal transduction pathways and improvement in the uterine environment through coumestrol supplementation may provide beneficial effects of enhancing embryonic and fetal survival and development. J. Cell. Physiol. 231: 2733–2740, 2016.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2733-2740
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Stimulatory Effects of Coumestrol on Embryonic and Fetal Development Through AKT and ERK1/2 MAPK Signal Transduction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this