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In an attempt to unveil molecular processes controlling the porcine placentation, we have investigated the pregnancy-induced gene expression in the endometrium using the Affymetrix GeneChip Porcine Genome Array. At Day 14 after insemination, at the time of initial placentation, samples were obtained from the endometrium of pregnant sows and sows inseminated with inactivated semen. Analysis of the microarray data revealed 263 genes to be significantly differentially expressed between the pregnant and nonpregnant sows. Most gene ontology terms significantly enriched at pregnancy had allocated more up-regulated genes than down-regulated genes. These terms included developmental process, transporter activity, calcium ion binding, apoptosis, cell motility, enzyme-linked receptor protein signaling pathway, positive regulation of cell proliferation, ion homeostasis, and hormone activity. Only the three terms oxidoreductase activity, lipid metabolic process, and organic acid metabolic process had an overrepresentation of down-regulated genes. A gene interaction network based on the genes identified in the gene ontology term developmental processes identified genes likely to be involved in the process of placentation. Pregnancy-specific localization of IL11RA to the surface epithelium of the endometrium suggests a role of interleukin 11 signaling in formation of the porcine epitheliochorial placenta. Furthermore, up-regulation of FGF9 mRNA in pregnant endometrium and localization of FGF9 to the apical cell domain of the glandular epithelium suggest the concept of endometrial FGF9 acting as an embryonic growth factor in the pig.


Esben Østrup, Stefan Bauersachs, Helmut Blum, Eckhard Wolf, Poul Hyttel. Differential endometrial gene expression in pregnant and nonpregnant sows. Biology of reproduction. 2010 Aug 1;83(2):277-85

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PMID: 20393170

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