Endothelin-1 and endothelin receptors are present in the sheep uterus and conceptus at implantation

Simon C Riley, Lois A Salamonsen, JK Findlay

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Abstract / Description of output

Previous studies have demonstrated that endothelin is present in the ovine endometrium and increases at around the expected time of implantation. To characterize further uterine endothelin at the time of establishment of pregnancy in sheep, endothelin was measured by radioimmunoassay in uterine flushings obtained during the oestrous cycle and in pregnant ewes up to the time of implantation (day 16). During the oestrous cycle, the highest amounts of endothelin were present in uterine flushings on day 14 (1.1 +/- 0.2 ng endothelin/uterus). During early pregnancy, basal levels of endothelin (0.5-0.6 ng endothelin/uterus) were present in uterine flushings for the first 10 days and then increased on day 14 to levels similar to those found at the equivalent stage of the oestrous cycle. On days 15 and 16 of pregnancy, endothelin content in the uterine lumen increased to significantly (P < 0.05) higher concentrations (2.9 +/- 0.4 ng endothelin/uterus) when compared with the non-fertile cycle. The principal isoform present in flushings at the time of implantation was endothelin-1, as determined by reverse-phase HPLC. Endothelin was released principally by purified endometrial epithelial cells in culture, with barely detectable amounts released by endometrial stromal cells or conceptus tissue, which is consistent with the epithelium being the principal source of endothelin in the uterine lumen. Endothelin binding sites were present in endometrium and myometrium, as demonstrated by specific binding of 125I-labelled endothelin-1, which was saturable and displaced by endothelin-1. Both endothelinA and B sub-types of receptors were present as demonstrated by the biphasic displacement of 125I-labelled endothelin-1 binding by the specific endothelinB agonist BQ3020. These were localised principally on luminal and glandular epithelium and in the vasculature of the endometrium and myometrium as shown by autoradiography. Endothelin receptors were also present on the conceptus obtained at the time of implantation. In the day 20 conceptus, endothelin immunostaining was localised principally in the heart, in trophoblast in uninucleate but not in binucleate cells, and in fetal membranes. This immunostaining of the conceptus may represent binding to receptor sites. It is concluded that endothelin-1 is present in the uterine lumen and may play an important role in the paracrine regulation of the conceptus and endometrium at the time of rapid embryo development, implantation and early placentation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-244
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1995


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