In a previous study, a subset of miRNAs were identified the expression of which increases substantially during the follicle-luteal transition in cattle. Here, we investigated the functional involvement of some of these miRNAs (miR-96, miR-182, miR-132, miR-21, miR-378) by determining whether there is an association in vivo between their expression in the corpus luteum (CL), CL size and progesterone production. The two largest and two smallest CL were collected from 12 donor beef heifers on Day 7 following ovarian super-stimulation (Day 0 = 28-32 h after first standing to be mounted). Additionally, the CL and a plasma sample were collected from 29 recipient heifers on Day 15. Luteal expression of miRNAs and mRNAs, and plasma progesterone concentrations were quantified by RT-qPCR and RIA, respectively. There were no differences in the mean expression of any miRNAs examined or the steroidogenic enzymes, STAR or CYP11A1, between the largest and smallest CL in donor heifers (P > 0.1). In addition, there were no significant correlations of luteal volume or weight with any miRNA, CYP11A1 or STAR in donor heifers. However, a correlation (r ≥ 0.5, P ≤ 0.001) existed between the transcript levels of CYP11A1 and STAR in the CL, as well as between each of those and miR-182 levels. In addition, CYP11A1 abundance was moderately correlated (r ≤ 0.4, P < 0.05) with each of miR-96 and miR-378. In recipient heifers, progesterone levels were moderately correlated with luteal weight (r = 0.41, P = 0.03) but not with the expression of any miRNA, CYP11A1 or STAR (P > 0.1). Moreover, luteal CYP11A1 and STAR were correlated (r = 0.6, P ≤ 0.001) with miR-182 as well as with each other, consistent with data in donor heifers. Finally, both CYP11A1 and STAR were moderately correlated (r ≤ 0.5) with miR-132 and, in the case of STAR, with miR-378. In summary, there was no association between either luteal weight/volume or plasma progesterone concentrations and any of the miRNAs analysed in donor and recipient heifers. However, CYP11A1 and STAR transcript levels were significantly correlated with several miRNAs, most notably miR-182, as well as with each other, in luteal tissues from both donor and recipient heifers. This finding confirms results of previous in vitro studies and, importantly, provides the first in vivo evidence of a role of the miR-183-96-182 cluster in regulating luteal steroidogenesis.
|Early online date||31 Oct 2019|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 31 Oct 2019|
- corpus luteum