Increased litter size and within-litter uniformity in birth weight would improve pig reproductive efficiency. This study compared the location and gene and protein expression of secreted phosphoprotein 1 in placental and uterine tissues supplying a normally sized and the smallest fetus carried by hyperprolific Large White and Meishan gilts on Days 41–42 of pregnancy. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization showed that the protein and gene encoding secreted phosphoprotein 1 were located in the glandular and luminal epithelium of the endometrium and in the placenta. Secreted phosphoprotein 1 protein levels were higher in glandular epithelium, luminal epithelium, and placenta from Meishan gilts compared to corresponding tissues from hyperprolific Large White gilts. Reverse transcription quantitative PCR demonstrated secreted phosphoprotein 1 mRNA levels were higher in endometrium, but not placenta, from Meishan compared to hyperprolific Large White gilts. In hyperprolific Large White gilts, secreted phosphoprotein 1 protein levels were higher in glandular epithelium and placenta surrounding small fetuses than corresponding tissues supplying normal-sized fetuses. Similarly, in Meishan gilts, secreted phosphoprotein 1 protein levels were higher in luminal epithelium surrounding small compared to normal-sized fetuses. Within hyperprolific Large White, but not Meishan, gilts secreted phosphoprotein 1 mRNA was higher in endometrium surrounding the normal-sized fetus than the control fetus. The contradictory relationship between fetal size and secreted phosphoprotein 1 protein and mRNA in the hyperprolific Large White is intriguing and may reflect breed differences in posttranslational modification. The striking breed differences in secreted phospoprotein 1 expression suggest that SPP1 may be associated with placental efficiency.
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Vol. 88 • No. 5