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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 27(5)

Effect of pregnancy on endometrial expression of luteolytic pathway components in the mare

M. de Ruijter-Villani A C, H. T. A. van Tol B and T. A. E. Stout A B

A Department of Equine Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 112, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.
B Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 104, 3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands.
C Corresponding author. Email: m.villani@uu.nl

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 27(5) 834-845 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD13381
Submitted: 11 November 2013  Accepted: 28 January 2014   Published: 31 March 2014


 
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Abstract

Endometrial oxytocin receptors (OXTR) and prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) are central components of the luteolytic pathway in cyclic mares, and their suppression is thought to be critical to luteal maintenance during early pregnancy. We examined the effect of pregnancy on endometrial expression of potential regulators of prostaglandin (PG) F secretion in mares. Expression of the nuclear progesterone receptor and oestrogen receptor ERα was high during oestrus, and depressed when progesterone was elevated; the opposite applied to the membrane progesterone receptor. PTGS2 was upregulated on Day 14 of dioestrus, but not pregnancy. Although OXTR mRNA expression was not elevated on Day 14 of dioestrus, protein abundance was; this increase in OXTR protein was absent on Day 14 of pregnancy. Intriguingly, gene and protein expression for PTGS2 and OXTR increased markedly between Days 14 and 21 of pregnancy suggesting that, although initial avoidance of luteolysis during pregnancy involves their suppression, this is a transient measure that delays rather than abolishes luteolytic pathway generation. The only oxytocin–PGF feedback loop component downregulated on both Days 14 and 21 of pregnancy was the PGF receptor we propose that downregulation of the PGF receptor uncouples the oxytocin–PGF feedback loop, thereby preventing generation of the large PGF pulses required for luteolysis.

Additional keywords: luteolysis, oxytocin, pregnancy recognition, prostaglandin F.


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