Successful implantation is associated with a unique spatial pattern of vascular remodeling, characterized by profound peripheral neovascularization surrounding a periembryo avascular niche. We hypothesized that hyaluronan controls the formation of this distinctive vascular pattern encompassing the embryo. This hypothesis was evaluated by genetic modification of hyaluronan metabolism, specifically targeted to embryonic trophoblast cells. The outcome of altered hyaluronan deposition on uterine vascular remodeling and postimplantation development were analyzed by MRI, detailed histological examinations, and RNA sequencing of uterine NK cells. Our experiments revealed that disruption of hyaluronan synthesis, as well as its increased cleavage at the embryonic niche, impaired implantation by induction of decidual vascular permeability, defective vascular sinus folds formation, breach of the maternal-embryo barrier, elevated MMP-9 expression, and interrupted uterine NK cell recruitment and function. Conversely, enhanced deposition of hyaluronan resulted in the expansion of the maternal-embryo barrier and increased diffusion distance, leading to compromised implantation. The deposition of hyaluronan at the embryonic niche is regulated by progesterone-progesterone receptor signaling. These results demonstrate a pivotal role for hyaluronan in successful pregnancy by fine-tuning the periembryo avascular niche and maternal vascular morphogenesis.
Ron Hadas, Eran Gershon, Aviad Cohen, Ofir Atrakchi, Shlomi Lazar, Ofra Golani, Bareket Dassa, Michal Elbaz, Gadi Cohen, Raya Eilam, Nava Dekel, Michal Neeman