Expression of the vasoactive proteins AT1, AT2, and ANP by pregnancy-induced mouse uterine natural killer cells

Reprod Sci. 2011 Apr;18(4):383-90. doi: 10.1177/1933719110385136. Epub 2010 Oct 19.


Angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1) activation leads to vasoconstriction and type 2 receptor (AT2) leads to vasodilation. Atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) antagonizes the effects of AT1. In human and murine pregnancies, uterine natural killer (uNK) cells closely associate with decidual blood vessels. Protein localization of AT1, AT2, and ANP to mouse uNK cells was examined between gestation days (gds) 6 and 12, the interval of uNK cell expansion. Percentages of uNK cells expressing AT1 or AT2 changed between gd6 and gd10. Atrial natriuretic peptide did not localize to uNK cells at gd6 or 8, but did colocalize to uNK cells at gd10 and 12, times immediately after spiral arterial modification. This is the first report of AT1, AT2, and ANP expression in uterine immune cells. Expression of these molecules suggests that uNK cells have the potential to contribute to the changes in blood pressure that occur between days 5 and 12 of pregnancy in mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / genetics
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1 / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Uterus / immunology
  • Uterus / metabolism*


  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 1
  • Receptor, Angiotensin, Type 2
  • Atrial Natriuretic Factor