The IGF system in the neonatal ovine uterus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Postnatal development of the ovine uterus primarily involves uterine gland morphogenesis or adenogenesis. Adenogenesis involves the budding differentiation of the glandular epithelium (GE) from the luminal epithelium (LE) and then GE proliferation and coiling/branching morphogenetic development within the stroma between birth (postnatal day or PND 0) and PND 56. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGF-II mRNAs were previously found to be expressed only in the endometrial stroma, whereas the IGF receptor (IGF-1R) mRNA was most abundant in epithelia and in stroma, suggesting that an intrinsic IGF system regulates postnatal development of the uterus. Given that the biological activities of IGFs are modulated by a family of six IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs) and specific proteases, the objective was to determine the effects of age and estrogen disruption on expression of IGFs, IGFBPs and pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A or IGFBP-4 protease) in the ovine uterus. In Study One, circulating levels of IGF-I and IGF-II in the serum of neonatal ewes did not change between PND 0 and PND 56. Levels of immunoreactive IGF-I, IGF-II and IGF-1R protein were most abundant on the apical surface of the endometrial LE and GE. RT-PCR analyses detected expression of IGFBPs (3, 4, 5 and 6) as well as PAPP-A mRNAs in the uterus, but not IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-2 mRNAs. IGFBP-3 and IGFBP-4 mRNAs were expressed specifically in the endometrial stroma and myometrium and increased after birth. PAPP-A mRNA was expressed specifically in the endometrial stroma and increased after birth. In Study Two, ewes were treated from birth with estradiol-17beta valerate (EV), which reduces uterine growth and inhibits endometrial adenogenesis. On PNDs 14 and 56, IGFBP-3 mRNA was decreased in the uterus of EV-treated ewes, but IGF-1R and IGFBP-4 mRNAs were not affected. PAPP-A mRNA was increased by EV treatment on PND 14, but decreased on PND 56. These results support the hypothesis that an intrinsic IGF system in the uterus regulates epithelial-stromal interactions important for postnatal uterine growth and endometrial gland morphogenesis in the sheep.

published proceedings

  • Reproduction

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Hayashi, K., Carpenter, K. D., Welsh, T. H., Burghardt, R. C., Spicer, L. J., & Spencer, T. E.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Hayashi, Kanako||Carpenter, Karen D||Welsh, Thomas H||Burghardt, Robert C||Spicer, Leon J||Spencer, Thomas E

publication date

  • March 2005