Claudin 7 is reduced in uterine epithelial cells during early pregnancy in the rat
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- Poon, C.E., Madawala, R.J., Day, M.L. et al. Histochem Cell Biol (2013) 139: 583. doi:10.1007/s00418-012-1052-y
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The non-receptive uterine luminal epithelium forms an intact polarised epithelial barrier that is refractory to blastocyst invasion. During implantation, organised dismantling of this barrier leads to a receptive state promoting blastocyst attachment. Claudins are tight junction proteins that increase in the uterine epithelium at the time of implantation. Claudin 7 is a member of this family but demonstrates a basolateral localisation pattern that is distinct from other claudins. The present study investigated the localisation, abundance and hormonal regulation of claudin 7 to elucidate a role for the protein during implantation. The results showed that claudin 7 demonstrates a distinct basal and lateral localisation in the uterine luminal and glandular epithelium throughout early pregnancy. On day 1, claudin 7 is abundantly present in response to ovarian estrogen. At the time of implantation, claudin 7 decreases in abundance. This decrease is not dependent on blastocyst presence, as shown by results in pseudopregnant animals. We propose that claudin 7 mediates intercellular adhesions in the uterine epithelium and also may be responsible for stabilising adhesion proteins at the basolateral cell surface. Thus, claudin 7 may function under the maintenance of the uterine luminal epithelial barrier, in the non-receptive state preventing implantation from occurring.