Pre-implantation exogenous progesterone and pregnancy in sheep. II. Effects on fetal-placental development and nutrient transporters in late pregnancy
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BACKGROUND: Administration of progesterone (P4) to ewes during the first 9 to 12 days of pregnancy accelerates blastocyst development by day 12 of pregnancy, likely due to P4-induced up-regulation of key genes in uterine epithelia responsible for secretion and transport of components of histotroph into the uterine lumen. This study determined if acceleration of blastocyst development induced by exogenous P4 during the pre-implantation period affects fetal-placental development on day 125 of pregnancy. Suffolk ewes (n = 35) were mated to fertile rams and assigned randomly to receive daily intramuscular injections of either corn oil vehicle (CO, n = 18) or 25 mg progesterone in CO (P4, n = 17) for the first 8 days of pregnancy. All ewes were hysterectomized on day 125 of pregnancy and: 1) fetal and placental weights and measurements were recorded; 2) endometrial and placental tissues were analyzed for the expression of candidate mRNAs involved in nutrient transport and arginine metabolism; and 3) maternal plasma, fetal plasma, allantoic fluid, and amniotic fluid were analyzed for amino acids, agmatine, polyamines, glucose, and fructose. RESULTS: Treatment of ewes with exogenous P4 did not alter fetal or placental growth, but increased amounts of aspartate and arginine in allantoic fluid and amniotic fluid, respectively. Ewes that received exogenous P4 had greater expression of mRNAs for SLC7A1, SLC7A2, SLC2A1, AGMAT, and ODC1 in endometria, as well as SLC1A4, SLC2A5, SLC2A8 and ODC1 in placentomes. In addition, AZIN2 protein was immunolocalized to uterine luminal and glandular epithelia in P4-treated ewes, whereas AZIN2 localized only to uterine luminal epithelia in CO-treated ewes. CONCLUSIONS: This study revealed that exogenous P4 administered in early pregnancy influenced expression of selected genes for nutrient transporters and the expression of a protein involved in polyamine synthesis on day 125 of pregnancy, suggesting a 'programming' effect of P4 on gene expression that affected the composition of nutrients in fetal-placental fluids.
author list (cited authors)
Halloran, K. M., Hoskins, E. C., Stenhouse, C., Moses, R. M., Dunlap, K. A., Satterfield, M. C., ... Bazer, F. W.