Expression of Inhibin/Activin Subunits in the Equine Uteri during the Early Pregnancy

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ContentsThe establishment of equine pregnancy is a unique and long process during which a series of physical and possibly biochemical interactions are required between the conceptus and uterus. In this study, we investigated the expression pattern of inhibin/activin subunits in the uterus during early pregnancy. The uteri from four adult mares on cyclic day 13 or pregnancy day 25 were obtained. Immunohistochemical experiments suggested that inhibin/activin subunits were immunolocalized in the luminal and glandular epithelium on pregnancy day 25. In addition, the inhibin α and inhibin/activin βB subunits were not detected, and inhibin/activin βA subunit was detected, in the luminal and glandular epithelium on cyclic day 13. Real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting results for the inhibin/activin subunits suggested a significant increase in the expression of inhibin/activin subunit βB and a significant decrease in the expression of inhibin/activin subunit βA on pregnancy day 25 compared with those on cyclic day 13. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays suggested a significant decrease in the concentration of activin A in endometrium extracts from cyclic day 13 to pregnancy day 25. These results suggest that inhibins or activins synthesized in the uterus, as endocrine factors and necessary nutriments, have different expression patterns and may play different, important roles during early embryonic development of the equine.

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