WNTs in the ovine uterus: potential regulation of periimplantation ovine conceptus development. Academic Article uri icon


  • WNTs (Wingless-type MMTV integration site family member) are involved in critical developmental and growth processes in animals. These studies investigated WNT pathways in the ovine uterus and conceptus during the periimplantation period of pregnancy. WNT2 and WNT2B mRNAs were detected in endometrial stroma. WNT5A and WNT5B mRNAs were most abundant in the stroma and less so in the luminal epithelium, whereas WNT11 mRNA was detected primarily in the glands. WNT7A mRNA was present in the luminal epithelium on d 10, absent on d 12 and 14, and increased between d 16 and 20. Only WNT2, WNT2B, and WNT4 were detected in conceptus trophectoderm. FZD6/8 (frizzled receptor) and GSK3B (glycogen synthase kinase 3beta) mRNAs were detected primarily in endometrial epithelia and conceptus trophectoderm, whereas the LRP5/6 (low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins 5 and 6) coreceptor was present in all endometrial cells and the trophectoderm. DKK1 (Dickkopf), a WNT signaling inhibitor, increased in the endometrium from d 16-20. CTNNB1 [catenin (cadherin associated protein) beta1] and CDH1 (E-cadherin) mRNAs were most abundant in the endometrial epithelia and trophectoderm. LEF1 (lymphoid enhancer-binding factor 1) mRNA was expressed primarily in uterine epithelia, whereas TCF7L2 [(transcription factor 7-like 2 (T-cell specific, HMG-box)] was primarily in the conceptus. CTNNB1 and TCF7L2 proteins were both abundant in the nuclei of trophoblast giant binucleate cells. WNT7A stimulated a TCF/LEF-luciferase reporter activity in ovine trophectoderm cells that was inhibited by dominant-negative TCF and Sfrp2 (secreted FZD-related protein 2). WNT7A increased trophectoderm cell proliferation as well as MSX2 (msh homeobox 2) and MYC (myelocytomatosis oncogene) mRNA levels. Wnt5a increased trophectoderm cell migration in a Rho kinase-dependent manner. These results support the hypotheses that canonical and noncanonical WNT signaling pathways are conserved regulators of conceptus-endometrial interactions in mammals and regulate periimplantation ovine conceptus development.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

author list (cited authors)

  • Hayashi, K., Burghardt, R. C., Bazer, F. W., & Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 68

complete list of authors

  • Hayashi, K||Burghardt, RC||Bazer, FW||Spencer, TE

publication date

  • July 2007