Cell-specific expression of estrogen-responsive genes in the uteri of cyclic, early pregnant and ovariectomized ewes.
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A single physiological dose of estradiol up-regulates estrogen receptor-alpha(ER), progesterone receptor (PR), glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), c-fos, cyclophilin, and actin mRNAs in the endometrium of ovariectomized ewes. Therefore, we hypothesized that these genes would be up-regulated by the preovulatory surge of estrogen which occurs on the evening of Day 15 in the estrous cycle of sheep. ER and PR mRNA concentrations increased between Day 15 and Day 1 in cyclic ewes in most endometrial epithelial cells, while GAPDH mRNA increased in epithelial and stromal cells in the deep endometrium. Day 15 pregnant ewes had lower expression of ER, PR, GAPDH, cyclophilin and actin genes. For ER and GAPDH mRNAs, the greatest reduction occurred in the superficial endometrium. Ovariectomized ewes demonstrated concentrations of ER, PR, and GAPDH mRNAs that were similar to those in the cyclic ewes. While concentrations of c-fos mRNA did not differ between groups, those of cyclophilin and actin mRNAs were lower in the pregnant and ovariectomized ewes. In conclusion, ER, PR and GAPDH gene expression rose during estrus in endometrial cells with the highest ER gene expression and were repressed in pregnant ewes in superficial endometrial cells with the greatest PR gene expression.