(1/975) Differentiation of dominant versus subordinate follicles in cattle.

Selection of a dominant follicle, capable of ovulating, from among a cohort of similarly sized follicles is a critical transition in follicular development. The mechanisms that regulate the selection of a species-specific number of dominant follicles for ovulation are not well understood. Cattle provide a very useful animal model for studies on follicular selection and dominance. During the bovine estrous cycle, two or three sequential waves of follicular development occur, each producing a dominant follicle capable of ovulating if luteal regression occurs. Follicles are large enough to allow analysis of multiple endpoints within a single follicle, and follicular development and regression can be followed via ultrasonographic imaging. Characteristics of recruited and selected follicles, obtained at various times during the first follicular wave, have been determined in some studies, whereas dominant and subordinate follicles have been compared around the time of selection in others. As follicular recruitment proceeds, mRNA for P450 aromatase increases. By the time of morphological selection, the dominant follicle has much higher concentrations of estradiol in follicular fluid, and its granulosa cells produce more estradiol in vitro than cells from subordinate follicles. Shortly after selection, dominant follicles have higher levels of mRNAs for gonadotropin receptors and steroidogenic enzymes. It has been hypothesized that granulosa cells of the selected follicle acquire LH receptors (LHr) to allow them to increase aromatization in response to LH, as well as FSH. However, LH does not appear to stimulate estradiol production by bovine granulosa cells, and the role of LHr acquisition remains to be determined. Recent evidence suggests a key role for changes in the intrafollicular insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system in selection of the dominant follicle. When follicular fluid was sampled in vivo before morphological selection, the lowest concentration of IGF binding protein-4 (IGFBP-4) was more predictive of future dominance than size or estradiol concentration. Consistent with this finding, dominant follicles acquire an FSH-induced IGFBP-4 protease activity. Thus, a decrease in IGFBP-4, which would make more IGF available to interact with its receptors and synergize with FSH to promote follicular growth and aromatization, appears to be a critical determinant of follicular selection for dominance.  (+info)

(2/975) Cellular turnover in the mammary gland is correlated with systemic levels of progesterone and not 17beta-estradiol during the estrous cycle.

Adult mammary tissue has been considered "resting" with minimal morphological change. Here, we reveal the dynamic nature of the nulliparous murine mammary gland. We demonstrate specific changes at the morphological and cellular levels, and uncover their relationship with the murine estrous cycle and physiological levels of steroid hormones. Differences in the numbers of higher-order epithelial branches and alveolar development led to extensive mouse-to-mouse mammary variations. Morphology (assigned grades 0-3) ranged from a complete lack of alveoli to the presence of numerous alveoli emanating from branches. Morphological changes were driven by epithelial proliferation and apoptosis, which differed between ductal versus alveolar structures. Proliferation within alveolar epithelium increased as morphological grade increased. Extensive alveolar apoptosis was restricted to tissue exhibiting grade 3 morphology, and was approximately 14-fold higher than at all other grades. Epithelial proliferation and apoptosis exhibited a positive relationship with serum levels of progesterone, but not with 17beta-estradiol. Compared with other estrous stages, diestrus was unique in that the morphological grade, epithelial proliferation, apoptosis, and progesterone levels all peaked at this stage. The regulated tissue remodeling of the mammary gland was orchestrated with mRNA changes in specific matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-9 and MMP-13) and specific tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP-3 and TIMP-4). We propose that the cyclical turnover of epithelial cells within the adult mammary tissue is a sum of spatial and functional coordination of hormonal and matrix regulatory factors.  (+info)

(3/975) Effects of second messengers on gap junctional intercellular communication of ovine luteal cells throughout the estrous cycle.

Corpora lutea (CL) from Days 5, 10, and 15 after superovulation were enzymatically dispersed, and a portion of the cells were elutriated to obtain fractions enriched with small or large luteal cells. Mixed, small, and large luteal cell fractions were incubated with no treatment or with agonists or antagonists of cAMP (dbcAMP or Rp-cAMPS), protein kinase C (PKC; TPA or H-7), or calcium (A23187, EGTA, or A23187 + EGTA). The rate of contact-dependent gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC) was evaluated by laser cytometry. Media were collected for progesterone (P(4)) radioimmunoassay, and luteal cells cultured with no treatment were fixed for immunocytochemistry or frozen for Western blot analysis. Luteal cells from each stage of the estrous cycle exhibited GJIC. The dbcAMP increased (P < 0.05) GJIC for all cell types across the estrous cycle. The Rp-cAMPS decreased (P < 0.05) GJIC for small luteal cells on Day 5 and for all cell types on Days 10 and 15. The TPA inhibited (P < 0.01), but H-7 did not affect, GJIC for all cell types across the estrous cycle. The A23187 decreased (P < 0.05) GJIC for large luteal cells touching only small or only large luteal cells, whereas A23187 + EGTA decreased (P < 0.05) GJIC for all cell types across the estrous cycle. For the mixed and large luteal cell fractions, dbcAMP increased (P < 0.05), but TPA and A23187 + EGTA decreased (P < 0.05), P(4) secretion. The A23187 alone decreased (P < 0.05) P(4) secretion by large, but not by mixed, luteal cells. For all days and cell types, the rate of GJIC and P(4) secretion were correlated (r = 0.113-0.249; P < 0.01). Connexin 43 was detected in cultured luteal cells by immunofluorescence and Western immunoblotting. Thus, intracellular regulators like cAMP, PKC, or calcium appear to regulate GJIC, which probably is an important mechanism for coordinating function of the ovine CL.  (+info)

(4/975) Muc-1, integrin, and osteopontin expression during the implantation cascade in sheep.

The extracellular matrix protein osteopontin (OPN) is a component of histotroph that increases in uterine flushings from pregnant ewes during the peri-implantation period and is localized on the apical surfaces of the uterine luminal epithelium (LE) and conceptus trophectoderm (Tr). The potential involvement of OPN in the implantation adhesion cascade in sheep was investigated by examining temporal, spatial, and potential functional relationships between OPN, Muc-1, and integrin subunits during the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. Immunoreactive Muc-1 was highly expressed at the apical surfaces of uterine luminal (LE) and glandular epithelium (GE) in both cycling and pregnant ewes but was decreased dramatically on LE by Day 9 and was nearly undetectable by Day 17 of pregnancy when intimate contact between LE and Tr begins. In contrast, integrin subunits alpha(v), alpha(4), alpha(5), beta(1), beta(3), and beta(5) were constitutively expressed on conceptus Tr and at the apical surface of uterine LE and GE in both cyclic and early pregnant ewes. The apical expression of these subunits could contribute to the apical assembly of several OPN receptors including the alpha(v)beta(3), alpha(v)beta(1), alpha(v)beta(5), alpha(4)beta(1), and alpha(5)beta(1) heterodimers on endometrial LE and GE, and conceptus Tr in sheep. Functional analysis of potential OPN interactions with conceptus and endometrial integrins was performed on LE and Tr cells in vitro using beads coated with OPN, poly-L-lysine, or recombinant OPN in which the Arg-Gly-Asp sequence was replaced with RGE or RAD. Transmembrane accumulation of talin or alpha-actinin at the apical surface of uterine LE and conceptus Tr cells in contact with OPN-coated beads revealed functional integrin activation and cytoskeletal reorganization in response to OPN binding. These results provide a physiological framework for the role of OPN, a potential mediator of implantation in sheep, as a bridge between integrin heterodimers expressed by Tr and uterine LE responsible for adhesion for initial conceptus attachment.  (+info)

(5/975) Interferon regulatory factor-two restricts expression of interferon-stimulated genes to the endometrial stroma and glandular epithelium of the ovine uterus.

Interferon tau (IFNtau) is the signal for maternal recognition of pregnancy in ruminants. The positive effects of IFNtau on IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) expression are mediated by ISG factor 3 (ISGF3), which is composed of signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) 1, Stat 2, and IFN regulatory factor-9 (IRF-9), and by gamma-activated factor (GAF), which is a Stat 1 homodimer. Induction of ISGs, such as ISG17 and 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetase, by IFNtau during pregnancy is limited to the endometrial stroma (S) and glandular epithelium (GE) of the ovine uterus. The IRF-2, a potent transcriptional repressor of ISG expression, is expressed in the luminal epithelium (LE). This study determined effects of the estrous cycle, pregnancy, and IFNtau on expression of Stat 1, Stat 2, IRF-9, IRF-1, and IRF-2 genes in the ovine endometrium. In cyclic ewes, Stat 1, Stat 2, IRF-1, and IRF-9 mRNA and protein were detected at low levels in the S and GE. During pregnancy, expression of these genes increased only in the S and GE. Expression of IRF-2 was detected only in the LE and superficial GE (sGE) of both cyclic and pregnant ewes. In cyclic ewes, intrauterine administration of IFNtau stimulated Stat 1, Stat 2, IRF-9, and IRF-1 expression in the endometrium. Ovine IRF-2 repressed transcriptional activity driven by IFN-stimulated response elements that bind ISGF3, but not by gamma-activation sequences that bind GAF. These results suggest that IRF-2 in the LE and sGE restricts IFNtau induction of ISGs to the S and GE. In the S and GE, IFNtau hyperactivation of ISG expression likely involves formation and actions of the transcription factors ISGF3 and, perhaps, IRF-1.  (+info)

(6/975) Disparate effects of estradiol on egg transport and oviductal protein synthesis in mated and cyclic rats.

Previously, we found that the dose of estradiol (E2) required to accelerate egg transport increases 5- to 10-fold, in mated compared to cyclic rats. Here we examined protein synthesis in the oviduct of mated and cyclic rats following a single injection of E2 known to accelerate oviductal egg transport or after concomitant treatment with progesterone (P4) known to block this acceleration. On Day 1 of the cycle or pregnancy, E2, P4, or E2 + P4 were injected s.c., and 4 h later oviducts were removed and incubated for 8 h in medium with 35S-methionine. Tissue proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE, and protein bands were quantitated by fluorography and densitometry. In mated rats, E2 and P4 increased different protein bands and P4 did not affect the fluorographic pattern induced by E2. In contrast with mated rats, none of these treatments changed the fluorographic pattern of the oviductal proteins in cyclic rats. Estradiol-induced egg transport acceleration was then compared under conditions in which oviductal protein synthesis was suppressed. Mated and cyclic rats treated with equipotent doses of E2 for accelerating egg transport also received actinomycin D (Act D) locally. Estradiol-induced oviductal egg loss was partially blocked by Act D in mated but had no effect in cyclic rats. We conclude that the oviduct of mated and cyclic rats differs in that only the former responds with increased protein synthesis to a pulse of exogenous E2 and P4 and requires an intact protein synthesis machinery in order to accelerate egg transport in response to E2.  (+info)

(7/975) Acceleration of oviductal transport of oocytes induced by estradiol in cycling rats is mediated by nongenomic stimulation of protein phosphorylation in the oviduct.

In order to explore nongenomic actions of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) in the oviduct, we determined the effect of E2 and P4 on oviductal protein phosphorylation. Rats on Day 1 of the cycle (C1) or pregnancy (P1) were treated with E2, P4, or E2 + P4, and 0.5 h or 2.5 h later their oviducts were incubated in medium with 32P-orthophosphate for 2 h. Oviducts were homogenized and proteins were separated by SDS-PAGE. Following autoradiography, protein bands were quantitated by densitometry. The phosphorylation of some proteins was increased by hormonal treatments, exhibiting steroid specificity and different individual time courses. Possible mediation of the E2 effect by mRNA synthesis or protein kinases A (PK-A) or C (PK-C) was then examined. Rats on C1 treated with E2 also received an intrabursal (i.b.) injection of alpha-amanitin (Am), or the PK inhibitors H-89 or GF 109203X, and 0.5 h later their oviducts were incubated as above plus the corresponding inhibitors in the medium. Increased incorporation of 32P into total oviductal protein induced by E2 was unchanged by Am, whereas it was completely suppressed by PK inhibitors. Local administration of H-89 was utilized to determine whether or not E2-induced egg transport acceleration requires protein phosphorylation. Rats on C1 or P1 were treated with E2 s.c. and H-89 i.b. The number and distribution of eggs in the genital tract assessed 24 h later showed that H-89 blocked the E2-induced oviductal egg loss in cyclic rats and had no effect in mated rats. It is concluded that E2 and P4 change the pattern of oviductal protein phosphorylation. Estradiol increases oviductal protein phosphorylation in cyclic rats due to a nongenomic action mediated by PK-A and PK-C. In the absence of mating, this action is essential for its oviductal transport accelerating effect. Mating changes the mechanism of action of E2 in the oviduct by waiving this nongenomic action as a requirement for E2-induced embryo transport acceleration.  (+info)

(8/975) Growth hormone and fertility in oMt1a-oGH transgenic mice.

Female mice carrying a regulatable growth hormone transgene (oMt1a-oGH) are subfertile when the transgene is actively expressed. This study was designed to characterize subfertility caused by increased concentrations of growth hormone. In particular, this study aimed to: (i) determine the effects of transgene activation and inactivation on mating, conception, maintenance of pregnancy, ovulation rate, litter characteristics and embryonic survival at day 17 of pregnancy, (ii) characterize oestrous cyclicity in transgenic versus wild-type female mice, and (iii) correlate corticosterone concentrations with transgene expression and reproductive performance. Transgenic and wild-type female mice were allocated randomly to one of four treatment groups at weaning: (i) transgenic female mice that always express the transgene, (ii) transgenic female mice that never express the transgene, (iii) transgenic female mice that express the transgene for up to 8 weeks of age and (iv) non-transgenic wild-type female mice receiving the transgene stimulus until 8 weeks of age. Activation followed by inactivation of the transgene resulted in an increased incidence of remating, resulting in an extended interval to establish pregnancy in comparison with all other treatment groups. Transgenic mice that always expressed the transgene and those that expressed the transgene for up to 8 weeks of age had lower pregnancy rates and higher ovulation rates compared with mice from other treatment groups. Both embryonic survival and the duration of the oestrous cycle did not differ among treatment groups. Active expression of the transgene resulted in an increase in the plasma concentration of corticosterone, which was associated with reduced fertility. These data indicate that the presence of a high growth hormone concentration impedes the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. Increased plasma corticosterone concentrations may interfere with implantation as well as potentiate leptin resistance, which has been reported previously in studies with these mice.  (+info)