Prostaglandins regulate conceptus elongation and mediate effects of interferon tau on the ovine uterine endometrium

Biol Reprod. 2011 Jun;84(6):1119-27. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.089979. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


In ruminants, both the endometrium and the conceptus (embryo and associated extraembryonic membranes) trophectoderm synthesizes and secretes prostaglandins (PG) during early pregnancy. In mice and humans, PGs regulate endometrial function and conceptus implantation. In Study One, bred ewes received intrauterine infusions of vehicle as a control (CX) or meloxicam (MEL), a PG synthase (PTGS) inhibitor from Days 8-14 postmating, and the uterine lumen was flushed on Day 14 to recover conceptuses and assess their morphology. Elongating and filamentous conceptuses (12 cm to >14 cm in length) were recovered from all CX-treated ewes. In contrast, MEL-treated ewes contained mostly ovoid or tubular conceptuses. PTGS activity in the uterine endometrium and amounts of PGs were substantially lower in uterine flushings from MEL-treated ewes. Receptors for PGE2 and PGF2 alpha were present in both the conceptus and the endometrium, particularly the epithelia. In Study Two, cyclic ewes received intrauterine infusions of CX, MEL, recombinant ovine interferon tau (IFNT), or IFNT and MEL from Days 10-14 postestrus. Infusion of MEL decreased PGs in the uterine lumen and expression of a number of progesterone-induced endometrial genes, particularly IGFBP1 and HSD11B1. IFNT increased endometrial PTGS activity and the amount of PGs in the uterine lumen. Interestingly, IFNT stimulation of many genes (FGF2, ISG15, RSAD2, CST3, CTSL, GRP, LGALS15, IGFBP1, SLC2A1, SLC5A1, SLC7A2) was reduced by co-infusion with MEL. Thus, PGs are important regulators of conceptus elongation and mediators of endometrial responses to progesterone and IFNT in the ovine uterus.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / metabolism
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects
  • Embryonic Development / physiology*
  • Endometrium / drug effects
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Interferon Type I / metabolism*
  • Meloxicam
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Proteins / metabolism*
  • Prostaglandin Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Prostaglandins / metabolism*
  • Sheep
  • Thiazines / pharmacology
  • Thiazoles / pharmacology


  • Cyclooxygenase 2 Inhibitors
  • Interferon Type I
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Prostaglandin Antagonists
  • Prostaglandins
  • Thiazines
  • Thiazoles
  • interferon tau
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • Meloxicam