Regulating life or death: potential role of microRNA in rescue of the corpus luteum

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014 Dec;398(1-2):78-88. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2014.10.005. Epub 2014 Oct 14.


The role of miRNA in tissue biology has added a new level of understanding of gene regulation and function. The corpus luteum (CL) is a transitory endocrine gland; the dynamic nature of the CL makes it a candidate for regulation by miRNA. Rescue of the CL from luteolysis is essential for the maintenance of pregnancy in all eutherian mammals. Using next generation sequencing, we profiled miRNA expression in the bovine CL during maternal recognition of pregnancy. We identified 590 luteal miRNA, of which 544 were known and 46 were novel miRNAs. Fifteen (including 3 novel) miRNAs were differentially expressed between CL of pregnant vs. cyclic animals. Target analysis of the differentially expressed miRNA resulted in genes involved in regulating apoptosis and immune response, providing evidence that miRNAs regulate the intracellular pathways that lead to either luteal regression or survival.

Keywords: Cattle; Corpus luteum; High-throughput sequencing; Maternal recognition of pregnancy; MicroRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cattle
  • Corpus Luteum / cytology
  • Corpus Luteum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone / blood


  • MicroRNAs
  • Progesterone