Establishment of pregnancy in sheep and pigs.
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Sheep conceptuses secrete a protein, ovine trophoblast protein-1 (oTP-1), between days 10 and 21 of gestation, that is responsible for establishment of pregnancy. oTP-1 inhibits uterine production of episodic release of prostaglandin (PG) F2 alpha (PGF) necessary for luteolysis and produced in response to oestradiol and oxytocin. oTP-1 does not compete with oxytocin for binding to its receptors or interfere with oxytocin stimulation of the inositol phospholipid second messenger system after oxytocin receptors are formed. However, oTP-1 may affect synthesis of oxytocin, oestrogen and/or progesterone receptors to alter the ability of the uterus to produce episodic pulses of PGF in response to episodic pulses of oxytocin. Porcine conceptuses secrete oestrogens between days 10 and 15 of pregnancy that are essential for establishment of pregnancy. Oestrogens, directly or indirectly, alter secretion of PGF from an endocrine direction (toward the uterine vasculature) to an exocrine direction (toward the uterine lumen). PGF sequestered in the uterine lumen is unavailable to exert a luteolytic effect on the corpus luteum (CL). Pig conceptus secretory proteins stimulate uterine production of PGF and PGE, but do not appear to be responsible for inhibition of luteolysis. Conceptus secretory proteins of sheep and pigs include proteins that have antiviral activity and are considered interferons. In sheep, oTP-1 has antiluteolytic, immunosuppressive, antiviral and possibly antiproliferative properties. The specific pig conceptus secretory protein(s) possessing antiviral activity has not been established. Unlike oTP-1, however, pig interferon-like protein(s) does not appear to possess antiluteolytic activity.
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