Intraluteal prostaglandin biosynthesis and signaling are selectively directed towards PGF2alpha during luteolysis but towards PGE2 during the establishment of pregnancy in sheep.
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In ruminants, endometrial prostalgandin (PG) F(2alpha) causes functional luteolysis, whereas luteal synthesis of PGF(2alpha) is required for structural luteolysis. PGE(2) is considered to be a luteoprotective mediator. Molecular aspects of luteal PGF(2alpha) and PGE(2) biosynthesis and signaling during the estrous cycle and establishment of pregnancy are largely unknown. The objectives of the present study were 1) to determine the regulation of proteins involved in PGF(2alpha) and PGE(2) biosynthesis, catabolism, transport and signaling in the corpus luteum (CL); 2) to investigate the transport of interferon tau (IFNT), PGF(2alpha), and PGE(2) from the uterus to the ovary through the vascular utero-ovarian plexus (UOP); and 3) to compare the intraluteal production of PGF(2alpha) and PGE(2) on Days 12, 14, and 16 of the estrous cycle and pregnancy in sheep. Our results indicate that luteal PG biosynthesis is selectively directed towards PGF(2alpha) at the time of luteolysis and towards PGE(2) during the establishment of pregnancy. Moreover, the ability of the CL of early pregnancy to resist luteolysis is due to increased intraluteal biosynthesis of PGE(2) and PGE(2) receptor (PTGER) 2 (also known as EP2)- and PTGER4 (also known as EP4)-mediated signaling. We also found that IFNT protein is not transported through the UOP from the uterus to the ovary; in contrast, a large proportion of endometrial PGE(2) is transported from the uterus to the ovary through the UOP. These results indicate that endometrial PGE(2) stimulated by pregnancy is transported locally to the ovary, which increases luteal PGE(2) biosynthesis and hence activates luteal PTGER2 and PTGER4 signaling, thus protecting the CL during the establishment of pregnancy in sheep.