Early pregnancy modulates survival and apoptosis pathways in the corpus luteum in sheep. Academic Article uri icon


  • The corpus luteum (CL) is a transient endocrine gland. Functional and structural demise of the CL allows a new estrous cycle. On the other hand, survival of CL and its secretion of progesterone are required for the establishment of pregnancy. Survival or apoptosis of the luteal cells is precisely controlled by interactions between survival and apoptosis pathways. Regulation of these cell signaling components during natural luteolysis and establishment of pregnancy is largely unknown in ruminants. The objective of the present study was to determine the regulation of survival and apoptosis signaling protein machinery in the CL on days 12, 14, and 16 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy in sheep. Results indicate that: i) expressions of p-ERK1/2, p-AKT, -catenin, NFB -p65, -p50, -p52, p-Src, p- -arrestin, p-GSK3, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), and p-CREB proteins are suppressed during natural luteolysis; in contrast, their expressions are sustained or increased during establishment of pregnancy; ii) expressions of cleaved caspase-3, apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), c-Fos, c-Jun, and EGR-1 proteins are increased during natural luteolysis; in contrast, their expressions are decreased during establishment of pregnancy; and iii) expressions of Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, Bad, and Bax proteins are not modulated during natural luteolysis while expressions of Bcl2 and Bcl-XL proteins are increased during establishment of pregnancy in sheep. These proteomic changes are evident in both large and small luteal cells. These results together indicate that regression of the CL during natural luteolysis or survival of the CL during establishment of pregnancy is precisely controlled by distinct programmed suppression or activation of intraluteal cell survival and apoptosis pathways in sheep/ruminants.

published proceedings

  • Reproduction

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, J., Banu, S. K., McCracken, J. A., & Arosh, J. A.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Lee, JeHoon||Banu, Sakhila K||McCracken, John A||Arosh, Joe A

publication date

  • March 2016