Integrins and OPN localize to adhesion complexes during placentation in sheep

in Reproduction
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA
  • 2 Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to G A Johnson; Email: GJohnson@cvm.tamu.edu

*(H Seo and J W Frank contributed equally to this work)

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Integrins and OPN are potential mediators of blastocyst attachment to the endometrium to initiate implantation. The goals were to examine the temporal/spatial pattern of expression of integrins at the endometrial–placental interface of sheep encompassing Days 9 through 80 of gestation and determine if OPN co-localizes with integrins. Results show the following: (1) αv, α4, β1, β3 and β5 integrins at the apical surface of endometrial luminal epithelium (LE) from Days 11 through 16 of pregnancy that indicate a role for these integrins during implantation; (2) large, intermittent aggregates of αv, α4, α5, β1 and β5 integrins at the endometrial–placental interface from Days 20 through 55, suggesting adaptation to a localized tissue remodeling stage of placentation; and (3) integrin adhesion complexes (IACs) containing αv, α4, α5, β1 and β5 integrins precisely distribute at the apical surfaces of apposed endometrial LE and chorion along expanses of the interplacentomal endometrial–placental interface between Days 60 and 80 of gestation, suggesting engagement of these integrins with the ECM to stabilize adhesion between endometrial LE and chorion in response to the increasing mechanical stress on this interface by the increasing size of the fetus and volumes of fetal fluids. An advancement is the clear co-localization of OPN and integrins at the endometrial–placental interface throughout gestation in sheep. The comprehensive nature of these results provide evidence that integrins potentially interact with OPN to play key roles in the mechanisms required for implantation and placentation throughout pregnancy in sheep and have implications concerning implantation and placentation in other species.

 

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