Relationship between release of plasminogen activator and estrogen by blastocysts and secretion of plasmin inhibitor by uterine endometrium in the pregnant pig. Academic Article uri icon


  • Pig blastocysts isolated between Days 10 and 16 of pregnancy release the protease, plasminogen activator (PA), into the medium in a time-dependent manner when cultured in vitro. Production is biphasic. The initial phase (Days 10-12) coincides with the early elongation stages, while release during the second phase (Days 14-16) occurs during a time at which the DNA content of the blastocysts is increasing markedly. Uterine flushings from these pregnant animals contain the zymogen substrate for PA, plasminogen, presumably as a serum transudate. Plasminogen is present in highest amounts at Day 12. The blastocyst, therefore, has the potential ability to generate the broadly specific protease, plasmin, within the uterine lumen. However, during this same period, the endometrium secretes an inhibitor of plasmin into the uterine lumen. In pregnant animals the amount of plasmin inhibitory activity rose 7-fold between Day 10.5, when the blastocysts were spherical, and Day 12, when they had become filamentous. At Day 12 each uterine horn contained about 3 to 4 mg of plasmin inhibitor. A similar release of inhibitor can be initiated in nonpregnant gilts given a single, intramuscular injection of estradiol valerate on Day 11 of the estrous cycle. It is suggested that the initiation of estrogen production by the elongating blastocyst triggers the release of plasmin inhibitor by the maternal endometrium and that the inhibitor serves to prevent a proteolytic cascade of reactions initiated by blastocyst PA, which might otherwise damage the uterine epithelium.

published proceedings

  • Biol Reprod

author list (cited authors)

  • Fazleabas, A. T., Geisert, R. D., Bazer, F. W., & Roberts, R. M.

citation count

  • 67

complete list of authors

  • Fazleabas, AT||Geisert, RD||Bazer, FW||Roberts, RM

publication date

  • August 1983