Involvement of TLR7 and TLR8 in conceptus development and establishment of pregnancy in sheep. Academic Article uri icon


  • Toll-like receptors (TLRs) belong to the innate immune system and regulate inflammatory events that affect mammalian reproduction. In Study 1, we demonstrated that abundance of ovine TLR1-TLR9 mRNAs in the uterus differs due to reproductive status (TLR2, TLR3, TLR7, and TLR8) and the day of the estrous cycle and pregnancy (TLR1-TLR3, TLR5-TLR7, and TLR9). Expression of TLR7 and TLR8 proteins was localized primarily to uterine epithelia and stroma and regulated in a temporal manner. In Study 2, we determined that ovine conceptuses express TLR7 and TLR8 on all days studied and that expression of the envelope protein of ovine endogenous retrovirus (enJSRV-Env) declined in conceptus trophectoderm from Day 13 to Day 16 of pregnancy. In Study 3, loss-of-function experiments were conducted in vivo using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (MAOs) injected into the uterine lumen to block synthesis of TLR7 and TLR8 proteins, individually and jointly. Conceptuses were recovered on Day 16 to assess their morphology. MAO-treated conceptuses were developmentally retarded, produced less interferon tau (IFNT), and had fewer binucleate cells (BNCs) compared with MAO-Controls. Moreover, expression of enJSRV-Env mRNA in MAO-TLR7 conceptuses was greater than that for MAO-Control and MAO-TLR8 conceptuses, but similar to MAO-TLR7/TLR8 conceptuses. Results of this study indicated differences in TLR1-TLR9 expression due to reproductive status and the day of the estrous cycle and pregnancy. TLR7 and TLR8 also influence development, enJSRV-Env abundance, secretion of IFNT, and formation of BNCs by conceptuses. These findings corroborate our hypothesis that TLR7 and TLR8 mediate pathways whereby enJSRV-Env regulates key peri-implantation events in conceptus development and differentiated functions of trophectoderm cells.

published proceedings

  • Reproduction

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Ruiz-Gonzlez, I., Minten, M., Wang, X., Dunlap, K. A., & Bazer, F. W.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Ruiz-Gonz├ílez, Irene||Minten, Megan||Wang, Xiaoqiu||Dunlap, Kathrin A||Bazer, Fuller W

publication date

  • April 2015