RelB/NF-κB2 regulates corticotropin-releasing hormone in the human placenta

Bingbing Wang, Nataliya Parobchak, Todd Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Placental CRH may be part of a clock that governs the length of human gestation. The mechanism underlying differential regulation of CRH in the human placenta is poorly understood. We report here that constitutively activated RelB/nuclear factor- B2 (NF-κB)-2 (p100/ p52) acts as an endogenous stimulatory signal to regulate CRH by binding to an NF-κB enhancer of CRH gene promoter in the human placenta. Nuclear staining of NF-κB2 and RelB in villous syncytiotrophoblasts and cytotrophoblasts was coupled with cytoplasmic CRH in syncytial knots of cytotrophoblasts. Chromatin immunoprecipitation identified that CRH gene associated with both RelB and NF-κB2 (p52). Dexamethasone increased synthesis and nuclear translocation of RelB and NF-κB2 (p52) and their association with the CRH gene. In contrast, progesterone, a down-regulator of placental CRH, repressed NF-κB2 (p100) processing, nuclear translocation of RelB and NF-κB2 (p52), and their association with the CRH gene. Luciferase reporter assay determined that the NF-κB enhancer of CRH was sufficient to regulate transcriptional activity of a heterologous promoter in primary cytotrophoblasts. RNA interference-mediated repression of RelB or NF-κB2 resulted in significant inhibition of CRH at both transcriptional and translational levels and prevented the dexamethasone-mediated up-regulation of CRH transcription and translation. These results suggest that the noncanonical NF-κB pathway regulates CRH production in the human placenta and is responsible for the positive regulation of CRH by glucocorticoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1356-1369
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


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