Ovine interferon-tau regulates expression of endometrial receptors for estrogen and oxytocin but not progesterone. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ovine interferon-tau (oIFN-tau) may stabilize endometrial progesterone receptor (PR) and/or inhibit estrogen receptor (ER) gene expression during pregnancy recognition to suppress endometrial oxytocin receptor (OTR) formation and production of luteolytic prostaglandin (PG) F2 alpha pulses. This study determined whether or not oIFN-tau stabilized PR expression in the endometrium during PR down-regulation by continuous exposure to progesterone. Twenty cyclic ewes were bilaterally ovariectomized and fitted with uterine catheters on Day 2 of the estrous cycle (Day 0 = estrus). Ewes were then assigned randomly to be treated, in a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement, with recombinant oIFN-tau (roIFN-tau; 2 x 10(7) antiviral units per ewe per day) or control proteins (6 mg/day) by intrauterine injection from Days 10 to 14, and with daily i.m. injections of 20 mg progesterone from Days 2 to 14 (P) or progesterone from Days 2 to 14 plus 50 micrograms estradiol-17 beta from Days 12 to 14 (P+E). All ewes were hysterectomized on Day 15. Endometrial PR mRNA (p < 0.01) and protein (p < 0.03) were higher in ewes receiving P+E than in those receiving P alone. However, the increase in PR mRNA and protein was not as great in the endometrium of roIFN-tau-treated ewes as compared to controls (p < 0.08, treatment x steroid). In ewes receiving P alone, PR mRNA and immunoreactive PR were localized to stroma and deep glandular epithelium and were not present in endometrial luminal and shallow glandular epithelium. Values for endometrial ER mRNA (p < 0.02) and ER protein (p < 0.01) were greater in controls than in roIFN-tau-treated ewes regardless of steroid treatment. Among controls, ER mRNA and immunoreactive ER protein were present in the luminal and glandular epithelium and were increased in the epithelium and stroma in ewes receiving estrogen. In contrast, endometrial ER mRNA and immunoreactive ER protein were very low or absent in the endometrium of roIFN-tau-treated ewes and were not increased by estrogen. Among controls, endometrial OTR density was greater (p < 0.09) in ewes treated with P+E than in those treated with P alone. In roIFN-tau-treated ewes, endometrial OTR density was lower (p < 0.01) than in the controls. Results indicate that roIFN-tau did not stabilize or prevent autologous down-regulation of PR mRNA or protein expression in the endometrium. However, roIFN-tau did suppress endometrial ER expression and OTR formation in ewes regardless of steroid treatment. The results support the hypothesis that the antiluteolytic effects of oIFN-tau are to suppress endometrial ER gene expression in the endometrial epithelium, thereby inhibiting formation of OTR and production of luteolytic PGF2 alpha pulses.

published proceedings

  • Biol Reprod

author list (cited authors)

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

citation count

  • 111

complete list of authors

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

publication date

  • September 1995