TITLE

Conceptus signals for establishment and maintenance of pregnancy

AUTHOR(S)
Spencer, Thomas E.; Bazer, Fuller W.
PUB. DATE
January 2004
SOURCE
Reproductive Biology & Endocrinology;2004, Vol. 2, p49
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Establishment and maintenance of pregnancy results from signaling by the conceptus (embryo/fetus and associated extraembryonic membranes) and requires progesterone produced by the corpus luteum (CL). In most mammals, hormones produced by the trophoblast maintain progesterone production by acting directly or indirectly to maintain the CL. In domestic animals (ruminants and pigs), hormones from the trophoblast are antiluteolytic in that they act on the endometrium to prevent uterine release of luteolytic prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF). In cyclic and pregnant sheep, progesterone negatively autoregulates expression of the progesterone receptor (PR) gene in the endometrial luminal (LE) and superficial glandular epithelium (GE). Available evidence in cyclic sheep indicates that loss of the PR is closely followed by increases in epithelial estrogen receptors (ER) and then oxytocin receptors (OTR), allowing oxytocin to induce uterine release of luteolytic PGF pulses. In pregnant sheep, the conceptus trophoblast produces interferon tau (IFN tau) that acts on the endometrium to inhibit transcription of the ER alpha gene directly and the OTR gene indirectly to abrogate development of the endometrial luteolytic mechanism. Subsequently, sequential, overlapping actions of progesterone, IFN tau, placental lactogen (PL) and growth hormone (GH) comprise a hormonal servomechanism that regulates endometrial gland morphogenesis and terminal differentiated function to maintain pregnancy in sheep. In pigs, the conceptus trophoblast produces estrogen that alters the direction of PGF secretion from an endocrine to exocrine direction, thereby sequestering luteolytic PGF within the uterine lumen. Conceptus estrogen also increases expression of fibroblast growth factor 7 (FGF-7) in the endometrial LE that, in turn, stimulates proliferation and differentiated functions of the trophectoderm, which expresses the FGF-7 receptor. Strategic manipulation of these physiological mechanisms can offer therapeutic schemes to improve uterine capacity, conceptus survival and reproductive health.
ACCESSION #
30095956

 

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