Endocannabinoid signaling plays key roles in multiple female reproductive events. Previous studies have shown an interesting phenomenon, that mice with either silenced or elevated endocannabinoid signaling via Cnr1 encoding CB 1 show similar defects in several pregnancy events, including preimplantation embryo development. To unravel the downstream signaling of this phenomenon, microarray studies were performed using RNAs collected from WT, Cnr1-/-, and Faah-/- mouse blastocysts on day 4 of pregnancy. The results indicate that about 100 genes show unidirectional changes under either silenced or elevated anandamide signaling via CB1. Functional enrichment analysis of the microarray data predicted that multiple biological functions and pathways are affected under aberrant endocannabinoid signaling. Among them, genes enriched in cell migration are suppressed in Cnr1-/- or Faah-/- blastocysts. Cell migration assays validated the prediction of functional enrichment analysis that cell mobility and spreading of either Cnr1-/- or Faah-/- trophoblast stem cells are compromised. Either silenced or elevated endocannabinoid signaling via CB1 causes similar changes in downstream targets in preimplantation embryos and trophoblast stem cells. This study provides evidence that a tightly regulated endocannabinoid signaling is critical to normal preimplantation embryo development and migration of trophoblast stem cells.
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