Pre-implantation exogenous progesterone and pregnancy in sheep: I. polyamines, nutrient transport, and progestamedins.
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BACKGROUND: Administration of exogenous progesterone (P4) to ewes during the pre-implantation period advances conceptus development and implantation. This study determined effects of exogenous P4 on transport of select nutrients and pathways that enhance conceptus development. Pregnant ewes (n=38) were treated with either 25mg P4 in 1mL corn oil (P4, n=18) or 1mL corn oil alone (CO, n=20) from day 1.5 through day 8 of pregnancy and hysterectomized on either day 9 or day 12 of pregnancy. Endometrial expression of genes encoding enzymes for synthesis of polyamines, transporters of glucose, arginine, and glycine, as well as progestamedins was determined by RT-qPCR. RESULTS: On day 12 of pregnancy, conceptuses from P4-treated ewes had elongated while those from CO-treated ewes were spherical. The mRNA expression of AZIN2, an arginine decarboxylase, was lower in endometria of P4-treated than CO-treated ewes on day 9 of pregnancy. Expression of FGF10, a progestamedin, was greater in endometria of CO and P4-treated ewes on day 12 of gestation in addition to P4-treated ewes necropsied on day 9 of gestation. Treatment with P4 down-regulated endometrial expression of amino acid transporter SLC1A4 on day 12 of pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS: Results indicated that administration of exogenous P4 during the pre-implantation period advanced the expression of FGF10, which may accelerate proliferation of trophectoderm cells, but also was correlated with decreased expression of glycine and serine transporters and polyamine synthesis enzyme AZIN2. Further research with increased sample sizes may determine how differential expression affects endometrial functions and potentially embryonic loss.