Expression and localization of nodal in bovine oviduct and uterus during different functional stages of oestrus cycle and pregnancy
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Members of TGF-β superfamily play a major role in the endometrial changes involved in the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Their deregulated expression and action could lead to absolute or partial failure of embryo implantation. Nonetheless, the precise function and mechanism of many of these cytokines remain unclear. Nodal, a transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) superfamily member, was characterized in the human and rodent uterus and implicated in the tissue remodeling events during menstruation and embryo implantation. In order to study its possible role in the cattle reproductive process, we have analyzed Nodal expression pattern and localization in the oviduct and uterine horn during the oestrus cycle and early pregnancy (day 20). Nodal was detected both in oviduct and uterus during either the oestrus cycle or pregnancy; however, it shows a differential expression profile in the uterine horn at dioestrus and pregnancy, decreasing 1.5 and 1.4 folds in comparison with oestrus. Nodal immunostaining intensity was observed in stromal and in epithelial cells of the surface and the glandular epithelium. The staining pattern correlates with the RT-qPCR expression profile. This work is the first to evidence the presence of Nodal in the bovine reproductive tract; our data suggest that Nodal is a novel cytokine that would be involved in the remodelling occurring in the endometrium of cattle during the oestrus cycle and in the embryo implantation. The identification of new molecules that participate in endometrium cycling and/or pregnancy may be useful for predicting the ability of the uterine tissue to establish and maintain pregnancy or for detecting the infertility processes. These results highlight Nodal as a possible novel marker of the fertility process, nevertheless further studies should be done to determine its role in the reproductive system.
KeywordsNodal Pregnancy Embryo implantation Oestrus cycle
This research was partially supported by grants of Min. C y T. ARG 08/013-BFBFAL0814 and BID 2006 no. 502 (ANPCyT-UNT). Dr. Argañaraz was partially supported by a grant for CONICET-Argentina.
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