Uterine differentiation as a foundation for subsequent fertility. Academic Article uri icon


  • Uterine differentiation in cattle and sheep begins prenatally, but is completed postnatally. Mechanisms regulating this process are not well defined. However, studies of urogenital tract development in murine systems, particularly those involving tissue recombination and targeted gene mutation, indicate that the ideal uterine organizational programme evolves epigenetically through dynamic cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions that define the microenvironmental context within which gene expression occurs and may ensure adult tissue stability. In the cow and ewe, transient postnatal exposure of the developing uterus to steroids can produce immutable changes in adult uterine tissues that may alter the embryotrophic potential of the uterine environment. Thus, success of steroid-sensitive postnatal events supporting uterine growth and development can dictate the functional potential of the adult uterus. Studies to determine effects of specific steroidal agents on patterns of uterine development during defined neonatal periods, as well as the functional consequences of targeted neonatal steroid exposure in the adult uterus, should enable identification of critical developmental mechanisms and determinants of uterine integrity and function. Extreme adult uterine phenotypes (lesion models) created in cattle and sheep by strategic postnatal steroid exposure hold promise as powerful tools for the study of factors affecting uterine function and the rapid identification of novel uterine genes.

published proceedings

  • J Reprod Fertil Suppl

author list (cited authors)

  • Bartol, F. F., Wiley, A. A., Floyd, J. G., Ott, T. L., Bazer, F. W., Gray, C. A., & Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 78

complete list of authors

  • Bartol, FF||Wiley, AA||Floyd, JG||Ott, TL||Bazer, FW||Gray, CA||Spencer, TE

publication date

  • January 1999