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Figure 1 | Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology

Figure 1

From: Uterine biology in pigs and sheep

Figure 1

[A] Oöcytes fertilized in the oviduct enter the uterus at the morula stage, hatch from the zona pellucida as spherical blastocysts and then transition to large spherical, tubular and filamentous conceptuses (embryo and its extra-embryonic membranes) with interferon tau (IFNT), the pregnancy recognition signal, being secreted from mononuclear trophectoderm cells between Days 10 and 21 of pregnancy. [B] Endometrial epithelia cease expressing receptors for progesterone (PGR) due to autoregulation by progesterone and IFNT silences expression of receptors for estradiol (ESR1) and oxytocin receptors (OXTR) to abrogate development of the mechanism for oxytocin-mediated pulsatile release of prostaglandin F (PGF) which would otherwise cause regression of the corpus luteum and cessation of progesterone secretion. The endometrial stromal fibroblasts express PGR and secrete fibroblast growth factor 10 that regulates uterine epithelia cell function. With down-regulation of PGR in uterine epithelia the uterine luminal (LE) and superficial glandular (sGE) epithelia express genes that are either induced by progesterone (P4) or induced by P4 and further stimulated by IFNT. Further, IFNT induces expression of interferon regulatory factor 2 (IRF2) in uterine LE and sGE to silence expression of classical interferon stimulated genes and allow expression of a unique set of genes that promote conceptus growth and development. The endometrial glandular epithelial cells (GE) and stromal fibroblasts do not express IRF2 and, therefore, express classical interferon stimulated proteins. Collectively, molecules secreted by uterine epithelia or transported into the uterine lumen by uterine epithelia form histotroph required for conceptus development. [C] The ovine conceptus undergoes the adhesion cascade for implantation.

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