AAT Bioquest

Inhibition of Lysyl Oxidase by Cortisol Regeneration in Human Amnion

The act of giving birth is one of the most common practices of any living thing and yet, despite its frequency, remains one of the most complex biological processes. Understanding the mechanisms that go into a successful birth is essential for being able to develop practices that bring life into this world in a safe and healthy way, for both the infant and the mother. However, many of the core mechanisms that are behind the phenomena of human birth remain misunderstood. For example, it is widely accepted that glucocorticoids derived from the fetal adrenal glands trigger birth in a number of animal species, yet it is far from certain if this process is equally as important in humans. One area that is receiving a lot of attention from the research community is that of fetal membranes. They have been found to be a rich source of glucocorticoids due to an abundant expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD), suggesting they play an important role in the overall birth process. One reason to pay so much attention to these membranes is that their rupture is one of the leading causes of preterm birth, and this causes millions of prenatal deaths and disabilities around the world. To further understand why this happens, researchers have begun looking at the two layers of fetal membranes, the amnion and chorion.

This was largely the focus of the study conducted by Liu et al. from Fundan University in Shanghai. Rupture of the fetal membrane is believed to be linked to the extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling of the amnion through programmed epithelial cell death and disassembly of the compact mesenchymal layer; Liu's research team wanted to find out how this happens. One of the ways that they did this was to study the down regulation of lysyl oxidase (LOX), since the dramatic decrease of this enzyme during advanced gestational age may contribute to the disassembly of collagens that lead to the rupture of fetal membranes. To conduct this study, Liu's team needed to carefully measure LOX activity, and they did so using the Amplite Fluorimetric Lysyl Oxidase Assay Kit. By using Amplite's proprietary LOX substrate that releases hydrogen peroxide upon LOX oxidation, this kit offers a sensitive fluorescent assay that makes reading LOX activity both clear and reliable.

In the end, Liu's research team found that the feed forward regeneration of 11β-HSD toward the end of gestation may initiate the down regulation of LOX expression, contributing to the rupture of fetal membranes. To make this kind of conclusion, Liu's team needed to be sure they were accurately measuring LOX activity, something guaranteed by the use of the Amplite Fluorimetric Lysyl Oxidase Assay Kit. By using Amplite's HRP substrate in the HRP-coupled reactions, this kit can detect sub ng/ml LOX, making it much more sensitive than other assays designed for this enzyme activity. This study clarifies some of the processes underlying human birth, helping researchers develop strategies to make it safer and more successful moving forward.



  1. Liu, Chao, et al. "Inhibition of lysyl oxidase by cortisol regeneration in human amnion: implications for rupture of fetal membranes." Endocrinology 157.10 (2016): 4055-4065.

Original created on November 20, 2017, last updated on November 20, 2017
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