Novel insights into the regulatory role of nuclear factor (Erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 in oxidative stress and inflammation of human fetal membranes

Ramkumar Menon, Morgan R. Peltier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Fetal membrane dysfunction in response to oxidative stress (OS) is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) is one of the regulators of innate OS response. This study evaluated changes in Nrf2 expression and its downstream targets heme oxygenase (HO-1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) in fetal membranes during OS and infection in vitro. Furthermore, we tested the roles of sulforaphane (SFN; an extract from cruciferous vegetables) and trigonelline (TRN; an aromatic compound in coffee) in regulating Nrf2 and its targets. Fetal membranes (n = 6) collected at term were placed in an organ explant system were treated with water-soluble cigarette smoke extract (CSE), an OS inducer (1:10), and lipopolysaccharide (LPS; 100 ng/mL). Nrf2 expression, expression, its enhancement by sulforaphane (SFN, 10 µM/mL) and down regulation by TRN (10uM/mL) was determined by western blots. Expression of Nrf2 response elements PPARγ (western) heme oxygenase (HO-1), and IL-6 were quantified by ELISA. CSE and LPS treatment of fetal membranes increased nrf2, but reduced HO-1 and PPARγ and increased IL-6. Co-treatment of SFN, but not with TRN, with CSE and LPS increased Nrf2 substantially, as well as increased HO-1 and PPARγ and reduced IL-6 expression. Risk factor-induced Nrf2 increase is insufficient to generate an antioxidant response in fetal membranes. Sulforaphane may enhance innate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacity by increasing NRF-2 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6139
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Antioxidant
  • Coffee
  • Green vegetables
  • Nutrition
  • PPARγ
  • Preterm birth
  • Sulforaphane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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