Regulation of catechol-O-methyltransferase expression in human myometrial cells

Melissa J. Wentz, Mohammad Jamaluddin, Robert E. Garfield, Ayman Al-Hendy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The catechol-O-methyltransferase enzyme catalyzes the methylation of the catechol estrogens, 2- or 4-hydroxyestrogen, to 2- or 4-methoxyestrogen. Both the hydroxy estrogens and methoxy estrogens were shown to modulate the effects of estrogen. Because catechol-O-methyltransferase activity controls levels of these metabolites, it may help regulate the cellular estrogenic milieu. In this study, we examined the regulation of catechol-O-methyltransferase expression in human myometrial cells. METHODS: Catechol-O-methyltransferase expression was assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, and luciferase assays in human myometrial cells after treatment with estrogen or progesterone. Catechol-O-methyltransferase expression was measured in cells after treatment with tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) alone or with lactacystin, a proteasome inhibitor. Luciferase assays were also conducted using human myometrial cells containing an estrogen response element-luciferase reporter gene to measure levels of estrogen-mediated transactivation after treatment with estrogen and increasing concentrations of 2-hydroxestrogen. RESULTS: Catechol-O-methyltransferase expression was down-regulated by progesterone or estrogen. Tumor necrosis factor alpha upregulated catechol-O-methyltransferase expression, whereas cotreatment with lactacystin attenuated this response, suggesting that TNFα activated nuclear factor kappa B to induce catechol-O-methyltransferase expression. Increased concentrations of 2-hydroxyestrogen attenuated estrogen-mediated transcription in the myometrial cells. CONCLUSION: Catechol-O-methyltransferase expression may be regulated in the myometrium to control the local action of estrogen. Low levels of catechol-O-methyltransferase in the myometrium would result in an accumulation of 2-hydroxyestrogen and may antagonize the local effect of estrogen. High levels of catechol-O-methyltransferase in the myometrium would result in lower levels of 2-hydroxyestrogen and may increase sensitivity to estrogen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1439-1447
Number of pages9
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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