In ruminants, conceptus development beyond the blastocyst state requires input from uterine-derived factors. Fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) is expressed by the bovine endometrium throughout the estrus cycle and early pregnancy and stimulates trophectoderm expression of interferon-tau, the maternal recognition of pregnancy factor in ruminants. The objective of this study was to examine the expression of FGF2 in ovine endometrium and peri-attachment conceptuses and FGF receptors (FGFR) in conceptuses. FGF2 mRNA was present in the ovine endometrium with specific localization within the luminal and glandular epithelium. No pregnancy-dependent changes in endometrial FGF2 mRNA abundance were detected until placental attachment was well underway. FGF2 protein was detected in the uterine lumen throughout the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. Concentrations of luminal FGF2 protein did not differ based on pregnancy status. However, uterine luminal FGF2 protein levels increased at days 12-13 after estrus in both cyclic and pregnant ewes. Ovine conceptuses collected at days 14-19 after mating contained transcripts for FGF2 and FGFR types 1, 2 and 3. In summary, FGF2 is expressed by the ovine endometrium and conceptus during early pregnancy, and peri-attachment conceptuses possess several FGFR types. Concentrations of FGF2 protein in the uterine lumen increase coincident with the initiation of pregnancy recognition in ewes. These observations support the concept that FGF2 and potentially other FGFs may affect conceptus development and/or gene expression during early pregnancy in ruminants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Animals
- Animal Science and Zoology