The investigation of apelin and apelin receptor expressions in mouse endometrium during peri-implantation period

Ann Anat. 2023 Feb:246:152027. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2022.152027. Epub 2022 Nov 12.


Background: Fertilization, pre-implantation embryo development, implantation, and decidualization are critical for a healthy pregnancy. Successful implantation requires a competent blastocyst and a receptive uterus. Apelin was purified from the bovine stomach in 1998. Apelin receptor (APJ) is a member of G protein-coupled receptors. Apelin/APJ system's physiological role was shown in cardiovascular system, immune response, stress response, fluid regulation, nutrient uptake, angiogenesis, and adipoinsular axis; however, whether apelin/APJ system plays a role in implantation is unknown. In our study, we aimed to evaluate the localization and expressions of the apelin/APJ system in the peri-implantation period mouse uterus.

Methods: Uteri and implantation sites were collected from mice on the estrous phase and the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th days of pregnancy. Also, inter-implantation sites were collected from the 5th day of the pregnancy group. Localization and expressions of apelin and APJ were determined by immunohistochemistry and Western blot, respectively.

Results: Apelin and APJ were expressed in the luminal and gland epithelium, the stroma of all experimental groups. Two isoforms of apelin-8 and 16 kDa were detected by Western blot. While apelin expression increased from the estrous to the 8th day of pregnancy, APJ expression increased from the estrous to the 4th day of pregnancy, reached the highest expression level, then decreased.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the apelin/APJ system might be involved in implantation and decidualization. Our findings will guide further studies and may help elucidate the underlying causes of implantation failure and pregnancy loss.

Keywords: APJ; Apelin; Decidualization; Embryo implantation; Mouse.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apelin Receptors* / genetics
  • Apelin* / genetics
  • Cattle
  • Embryo Implantation*
  • Endometrium / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Mice
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism


  • Apelin
  • Apelin Receptors
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Apln protein, mouse
  • Aplnr protein, mouse