The process of parturition is associated with inflammation within the uterine tissues, and IL-1β is a key proinflammatory cytokine involved. Autophagy is emerging as an important pathway to remove redundant cellular components. However, it is not known whether IL-1β employs the autophagy pathway to degrade collagen, thereby participating in membrane rupture at parturition. In this study, we investigated this issue in human amnion. Results showed that IL-1β levels were significantly increased in human amnion obtained from deliveries with spontaneous labor and membrane rupture, which was accompanied by decreased abundance of COL1A1 and COL1A2 protein but not their mRNA, the two components of collagen I. Consistently, IL-1β treatment of cultured primary human amnion fibroblasts reduced COL1A1 and COL1A2 protein but not their mRNA abundance along with increased abundance of autophagy activation markers, including the microtubule-associated protein L chain 3β II/I ratio and autophagy-related 7 (ATG7) in the cells. The reduction in COL1A1 and COL1A2 protein abundance induced by IL-1β could be blocked by the lysosome inhibitor chloroquine or small interfering RNA–mediated knockdown of ATG7 or ER-phagy receptor FAM134C, suggesting that FAM134C-mediated ER-phagy was involved in IL-1β–induced reduction in COL1A1 and COL1A2 protein in amnion fibroblasts. Consistently, levels of L chain 3β II/I ratio, ATG7, and FAM134C were significantly increased in human amnion obtained from deliveries with spontaneous labor and membrane rupture. Conclusively, increased IL-1β abundance in human amnion may stimulate ER-phagy–mediated COL1A1 and COL1A2 protein degradation in amnion fibroblasts, thereby participating in membrane rupture at parturition.

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants 8190061692, 81830042, 82071678, and 32070844) and Innovative Research Team of High-level Local Universities in Shanghai (SHSMU-ZLCX20210201).

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