Defining age- and lactocrine-sensitive elements of the neonatal porcine uterine microRNA-mRNA interactome

Biol Reprod. 2017 Feb 1;96(2):327-340. doi: 10.1093/biolre/iox001.


Factors delivered to offspring in colostrum within 2 days of birth support neonatal porcine uterine development. The uterine mRNA transcriptome is affected by age and nursing during this period. Whether uterine microRNA (miRNA) expression is affected similarly is unknown. Objectives were to (1) determine effects of age and nursing on porcine uterine miRNA expression between birth and postnatal day (PND) 2 using miRNA sequencing (miRNAseq) and; (2) define affected miRNA–mRNA interactions and associated biological processes using integrated target prediction analysis. At birth (PND 0), gilts were euthanized, nursed ad libitum, or gavage-fed milk replacer for 48 h. Uteri were collected at birth or 50 h postnatal. MicroRNAseq data were validated using quantitative real-time PCR. Targets were predicted using an established mRNA database generated from the same tissues. For PND 2 versus PND 0 comparisons, 31 differentially expressed (DE) miRNAs were identified for nursed, and 42 DE miRNAs were identified for replacer-fed gilts. Six DE miRNAs were identified for nursed versus replacer-fed gilts on PND 2. Target prediction for inversely correlated DE miRNA–mRNA pairings indicated 20 miRNAs targeting 251 mRNAs in nursed, versus 29 miRNAs targeting 585 mRNAs in replacer-fed gilts for PND 2 versus PND 0 comparisons, and 5 miRNAs targeting 81 mRNAs for nursed versus replacer-fed gilts on PND 2. Biological processes predicted to be affected by age and nursing included cell-to-cell signaling, cell morphology, and tissue morphology. Results indicate novel age- and lactocrine-sensitive miRNA–mRNA relationships associated with porcine neonatal uterine development between birth and PND 2

Keywords: neonate; uterus; pig; microRNA; transcriptome; lactocrine.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Animals, Suckling
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Swine / physiology*
  • Uterus / physiology*


  • MicroRNAs
  • RNA, Messenger