Pig blastocyst-uterine interactions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The litter-bearing pig is an invaluable model for research in reproductive biology. Spherical pig blastocysts on Day 10 of pregnancy undergo rapid morphological changes to tubular and then filamentous forms by Day 12 and a filamentous conceptus of almost 1m in length by Day 16 of pregnancy. Thus, trophectoderm of each conceptus achieves intimate contact with luminal uterine epithelium (LE) for exchange of nutrients, gases, hormones, growth factors and other key molecules for survival and development. Estrogens secreted between Days 11 and 13 of pregnancy signals pregnancy recognition to ensure that nutrients and prostaglandin F2-alpha (PGF) are secreted into the uterine lumen (exocrine secretion) rather than into the uterine vein (endocrine secretion) which would lead to regression of the corpora lutea (CL) and failure to maintain pregnancy. Pigs have a true epitheliochorial placenta. The fluid filled amnion bouys the embryo so that it develops symmetrically. The allantois fills with allantoic fluid to expand contact of the chorioallantois with uterine LE, and the allanotois supports the vascular system of the placenta. The chorion/trophectoderm in direct contact with uterine LE exchanges gases and nutrients and forms unique structures call areolae that absorb nutrient-rich secretions from uterine glands and transports them directly into fetal blood. The period from Days 20 to 70 of pregnancy is for placental growth in preparation for rapid fetal growth between Days 70 and 114 (term) of gestation. Maturation of the fetal hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis leads to increases in secretion of cortisol from the fetal adrenal glands. Cortisol sets in motion secretion of estrogens, oxytocin, relaxin and prolactin, as well as increases in their receptors, which are required for delivery of piglets and for initiation of lactation and expression of maternal behavior. This review provides details of gestation in the pig with respect to uterine biology, implantation, placentation, fetal development and parturition.

published proceedings

  • Differentiation

author list (cited authors)

  • Bazer, F. W., & Johnson, G. A.

citation count

  • 198

complete list of authors

  • Bazer, Fuller W||Johnson, Gregory A

publication date

  • January 2014