Select Nutrients in the Uterine Lumen of Sheep and Pigs Affect Conceptus Development Academic Article uri icon


  • Interferon tau (IFNT) is the pregnancy recognition signal from ruminant conceptuses. IFNT also acts with P4 to induce expression of genes for transport of nutrients, such as glucose (Gluc) and arginine (Arg) into the uterine lumen to activate mechanistic mammalian target of rapamycin (MTOR) cell signaling that stimulates proliferation, migration, gene transcription and mRNA translation by conceptus trophectoderm (Tr). In ewes, Arg and Gluc increase significantly in the uterine lumen between Days 10 and 15 of pregnancy due to increased expression of transporters for Gluc (SLC2A1 and SLC5A1) and Arg (SLC7A2B) by uterine epithelia. Arg and Gluc stimulate proliferation, migration and mRNA translation by Tr. Arg increases expression of GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1) and IFNT mRNAs while Arg and Gluc increase ornithine decarboxylase, nitric oxide synthase 2, and GCH1 mRNAs and proteins by Tr cells. GCH1 is required for synthesis of tetrahydrobiopterin, an essential cofactor for all NOS isoforms. Arg is metabolized to nitric oxide and polyamines that increase proliferation and migration of Tr cells. In pigs, Gluc, Arg, leucine (Leu) and glutamine (Gln) increase in the uterine lumen between Days 12 and 15 of pregnancy due to enhanced expression of transporters for Gluc and amino acids. Transporters for Gluc in porcine uterine LE (SLC2A1) and conceptus trophectoderm (SLC2A2) are abundant. Transporters for glutamate and neutral (SLC1A1, SLC1A4) and cationic (SLC7A1, SLC7A2, SLC7A7, SLC7A9) amino acids are expressed in uterine LE and SLC7A3 mRNA is expressed in conceptus Tr. Arg and Leu increase MTOR cell signaling and proliferation of pig Tr, as do Gluc and fructose. Azaserine, an inhibitor of hexosamine biosynthesis, inhibits effects of Gluc and fructose. Thus, select nutrients in the uterine lumen affect gene transcription and mRNA translation to affect conceptus development.

author list (cited authors)

  • BAZER, F. W., KIM, J., KA, H., JOHNSON, G. A., WU, G., & SONG, G.

citation count

  • 44
  • 46

publication date

  • January 2012