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1 September 2003 The Activin-Follistatin System in the Neonatal Ovine Uterus
Kanako Hayashi, Karen D. Carpenter, C. Allison Gray, Thomas E. Spencer
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Uterine gland development or adenogenesis in the neonatal ovine uterus involves budding and tubulogenesis followed by coiling and branching morphogenesis of the glandular epithelium (GE) from the luminal epithelium (LE) between birth (Postnatal Day [PND] 0) and PND 56. Activins, which are members of the transforming growth factor β superfamily, and follistatin, an inhibitor of activins, regulate epithelial branching morphogenesis in other organs. The objective of the present study was to determine effects of postnatal age on expression of follistatin, inhibin α subunit, βA subunit, βB subunit, activin receptor (ActR) type IA, ActRIB, and ActRII in the developing ovine uterus. Ewes were ovariohysterectomized on PND 0, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, or 56. The uterus was analyzed by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Neither inhibin α subunit mRNA or protein was detected in the neonatal uterus. Expression of βA and βB subunits was detected predominantly in the endometrial LE and GE and myometrium between PND 0 and PND 56. In all uterine cell types, ActRIA, ActRIB, and ActRII were expressed, with the highest levels observed in the endometrial LE and GE and myometrium. Between PND 0 and PND 14, follistatin was detected in all uterine cell types. However, between PND 21 and PND 56, follistatin was only detected in the stroma and myometrium and not in the developing GE. Collectively, the present results indicate that components of the activin-follistatin system are expressed in the developing neonatal ovine uterus and are potential regulators of endometrial gland morphogenesis.

Kanako Hayashi, Karen D. Carpenter, C. Allison Gray, and Thomas E. Spencer "The Activin-Follistatin System in the Neonatal Ovine Uterus," Biology of Reproduction 69(3), 843-850, (1 September 2003).
Received: 12 February 2003; Accepted: 1 May 2003; Published: 1 September 2003

developmental biology
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