Ovine interferon-tau inhibits estrogen receptor up-regulation and estrogen-induced luteolysis in cyclic ewes. Academic Article uri icon


  • This study determined whether intrauterine injection of interferon-tau (IFN tau) could block luteolysis in cyclic ewes treated with a luteolytic dose of 17 beta-estradiol benzoate (E) on day 12 of the estrous cycle. Thirty-two ewes were fitted with uterine catheters on day 5 of the estrous cycle and treated with recombinant ovine IFN tau (2 x 10(7) antiviral units/ewe/day) or control proteins (6 mg/day) by intrauterine injection from day 10 until hysterectomy. At 1900 h on day 12, all ewes received 750 micrograms E, im, and were hysterectomized 12, 24, 36, or 48 h post-E administration. Plasma concentrations of progesterone declined in control animals but increased in IFN tau-treated ewes after E injection (P < 0.01, treatment x day interaction). Likewise, total corpus luteum weight decreased in control but not IFN tau-treated ewes after E administration (P < 0.02, treatment x time interaction). In control ewes, endometrial estrogen receptor (ER) messenger RNA (mRNA; P < 0.03) and progesterone receptor (PR) mRNA (P < 0.10) increased after 12 h, whereas concentrations of ER protein (P < 0.02) and PR protein (P < 0.04) increased after 24 h. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical analyses indicated that ER gene expression increased first in the epithelium at 12 h and then in the stroma by 48 h, whereas PR gene expression first increased in the stroma and then in the epithelium. In control ewes, endometrial oxytocin receptor (OTR) density increased (P < 0.10) after 12 h, with the largest increase occurring between 36-48 h. In IFN tau-treated ewes, endometrial ER mRNA and protein and OTR density did not increase after E administration. Levels of PR mRNA increased (P < 0.01) between 12-36 h, but decreased after 36 h. PR mRNA abundance increased between 12-36 h in the stroma, but not in the epithelium. Concentrations of PR protein were low and did not change in IFN tau-treated ewes. Immunoreactive PR protein was present at low levels in the stroma of all IFN tau-treated ewes. The results indicate that induction of luteolysis by E in control ewes involved sequential increases in endometrial ER mRNA and ER protein in the epithelium that preceded maximal increases in OTR density. Intrauterine injection of recombinant ovine IFN tau prevented luteolysis by inhibiting estrogen-induced increases in endometrial ER and OTR gene expression.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

author list (cited authors)

  • Spencer, T. E., Becker, W. C., George, P., Mirando, M. A., Ogle, T. F., & Bazer, F. W.

citation count

  • 88

complete list of authors

  • Spencer, TE||Becker, WC||George, P||Mirando, MA||Ogle, TF||Bazer, FW

publication date

  • November 1995