TCDD induces the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α regulatory pathway in human trophoblastic JAR cells

Tien Ling Liao, Su Chee Chen, Chii Reuy Tzeng, Shu Huei Kao

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The exposure to dioxin can compromise pregnancy outcomes and increase the risk of preterm births. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has been demonstrated to induce placental hypoxia at the end of pregnancy in a rat model, and hypoxia has been suggested to be the cause of abnormal trophoblast differentiation and placental insufficiency syndromes. In this study, we demonstrate that the non-hypoxic stimulation of human trophoblastic cells by TCDD strongly increased hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) stabilization. TCDD exposure induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide. TCDD-induced HIF-1α stabilization and Akt phosphorylation was inhibited by pretreatment with wortmannin (a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor) or N-acetylcysteine (a ROS scavenger). The augmented HIF-1α stabilization by TCDD occurred via the ROS-dependent activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Additionally, a significant increase in invasion and metallomatrix protease-9 activity was found in TCDD-treated cells. The gene expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and placental growth factor was induced upon TCDD stimulation, whereas the protein levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), PPARγ coactivator-1α, mitochondrial transcription factor, and uncoupling protein 2 were decreased. Our results indicate that an activated HIF-1α pathway, elicited oxidative stress, and induced metabolic stress contribute to TCDD-induced trophoblastic toxicity. These findings may provide molecular insight into the TCDD-induced impairment of trophoblast function and placental development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17733-17750
Number of pages18
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Sept 30 2014


  • Dioxin
  • Hypoxia induction factor-1α
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Trophoblastic cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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