Growth-differentiation factor-8 (GDF-8) in the uterus: its identification and functional significance in the golden hamster

Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2009 Nov 25;7:134. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-7-134.


Transforming growth factor-beta superfamily regulates many aspects of reproduction in the female. We identified a novel member of this family, growth-differentiation factor 8 (GDF-8) in the 72 h post coital uterine fluid of the golden hamster by proteomic techniques. Uterine GDF-8 mRNA decreased as pregnancy progressed while its active protein peaked at 72 h post coitus (hpc) and thereafter stayed at a lower level. At 72 hpc, the GDF-8 transcript was localized to the endometrial epithelium while its protein accumulated in the stroma. Exogenous GDF-8 slowed down proliferation of primary cultures of uterine smooth muscle cells (SMC) and endometrial epithelial cells (EEC). In addition, GDF-8 attenuated the release of LIF (leukaemia inhibiting factor) by EEC. As for the embryo in culture, GDF-8 promoted proliferation of the trophotoderm (TM) and hatching but discouraged attachment. Our study suggests that GDF-8 could regulate the behavior of preimplantation embryos and fine-tune the physiology of uterine environment during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Body Fluids / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cricetinae
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mesocricetus / genetics*
  • Mesocricetus / metabolism
  • Mesocricetus / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / drug effects
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / physiology
  • Myometrium / cytology
  • Myometrium / drug effects
  • Myometrium / metabolism
  • Myometrium / physiology
  • Myostatin / genetics*
  • Myostatin / metabolism
  • Myostatin / pharmacology
  • Myostatin / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Proteomics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Uterus / metabolism*
  • Uterus / physiology


  • Myostatin