Integrated Insight into the Molecular Mechanisms of Spontaneous Abortion during Early Pregnancy in Pigs

Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Jun 21;22(12):6644. doi: 10.3390/ijms22126644.


Due to the high rate of spontaneous abortion (SAB) in porcine pregnancy, there is a major interest and concern on commercial pig farming worldwide. Whereas the perturbed immune response at the maternal-fetal interface is an important mechanism associated with the spontaneous embryo loss in the early stages of implantation in porcine, data on the specific regulatory mechanism of the SAB at the end stage of the implantation remains scant. Therefore, we used high-throughput sequencing and bioinformatics tools to analyze the healthy and arresting endometrium on day 28 of pregnancy. We identified 639 differentially expressed lncRNAs (DELs) and 2357 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at the end stage of implantation, and qRT-PCR was used to verify the sequencing data. Gene set variation analysis (GSVA), gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), and immunohistochemistry analysis demonstrated weaker immune response activities in the arresting endometrium compared to the healthy one. Using the lasso regression analysis, we screened the DELs and constructed an immunological competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network related to SAB, including 4 lncRNAs, 11 miRNAs, and 13 genes. In addition, Blast analysis showed the applicability of the constructed ceRNA network in different species, and subsequently determined HOXA-AS2 in pigs. Our study, for the first time, demonstrated that the SAB events at the end stages of implantation is associated with the regulation of immunobiological processes, and a specific molecular regulatory network was obtained. These novel findings may provide new insight into the possibility of increasing the litter size of sows, making pig breeding better and thus improving the efficiency of animal husbandry production.

Keywords: HOXA-AS2; ceRNA; immune response; pig; spontaneous abortion.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / etiology*
  • Animals
  • Embryo Implantation / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Swine / physiology*


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Messenger