Krüppel-like factor 12 is a novel negative regulator of forkhead box O1 expression: a potential role in impaired decidualization
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Abstract Background Decidualization is a prerequisite for successful implantation and the establishment of pregnancy. Krüppel-like factor 12 (KLF12) is a negative regulator of endometrial decidualization in vitro. We investigated whether KLF12 was associated with impaired decidualization under conditions of repeated implantation failure (RIF). Methods Uterine tissues were collected from a mouse model of early pregnancy and artificial decidualization for immunohistochemistry, Western blot and real-time PCR analysis. Reporter gene assays, chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR and avidin-biotin conjugate DNA precipitation assays were performed to analyze the transcriptional regulation of forkhead box O1 (FOXO1) by KLF12. Furthermore, the protein levels of KLF12 and FOXO1 in patients with RIF were analyzed by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Results KLF12 led to defective implantation and decidualization in the mouse uterine model of early pregnancy and artificial decidualization by directly binding to the FOXO1 promoter region and inhibiting its expression in human endometrial stromal cells. Elevated KLF12 expression was accompanied by decreased FOXO1 expression in the endometria of patients with RIF. Conclusions As a novel regulator, KLF12 predominantly controls uterine endometrial differentiation during early pregnancy and leads to implantation failure.