Reprod Domest Anim 2011 Oct 24;46(5):840-7. Epub 2011 May 24.
College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.
The objective of this study was to determine expression and potential functions of α(v) and β(3) integrin subunits in ovine endometrium during the peri-implantation period (days 8-17 after fertilization). The morphologic changes in the endometrium were observed histochemically following haematoxylin/eosin (HE) staining, whereas the expressions of α(v) and β(3) integrin subunits were analysed by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The filamentous conceptus attached to the luminal epithelium (LE) on day 17 of pregnancy, with no differences in endometrial morphology between days 8-12 of pregnancy. However, endometrial glands in the endometrial stroma (S) underwent extensive hyperplasia from day 14 to day 17, increased reductus of the LE with an obvious proliferation of caruncles, and an increased number and diameter of blood vessels (V) in the endometrium. The relative expression levels of α(v) and β(3) integrin subunits mRNA gradually increased until day 16, but sharply declined on day 17. Western blot analysis revealed that the expression pattern of α(v) and β(3) integrin subunit proteins paralleled that of the corresponding mRNA. In addition, immunohistochemical localization of α(v) and β(3) integrin subunits confirmed their presence in the glandular epithelium (GE), LE and endometrial stroma. Immunostaining on LE and stroma varied with the increasing days of pregnancy, with the strongest immunostaining on days 16 and 17. In conclusion, expression of α(V) and β(3) integrin subunits was closely related to the early progression of pregnancy and conceptus attachment; therefore, we inferred that α(v) β(3) integrin may participate in conceptus attachment by the regulation of endometrial morphology during peri-implantation in ovine.