The actions of prolactin (PRL) on target cells depend on the type of prolactin receptor (PRLr) predominantly expressed, particularly whether the long PRLr isoform is expressed. The aims of this study were to determine the cellular localization and the changes in expression of long and short PRLr isoforms in sheep ovary throughout the estrous cycle. Long and short PRLrs were localized mostly in the same ovarian cells. Maximum signal intensity, particularly for long PRLrs, was found in stromal cells surrounding primordial and primary follicles, and, for both PRLrs, in granulosa cells of preantral follicles and in luteal cells. Moderate signal intensity for PRLrs was found in theca cells of preantral to ovulatory follicles, and in granulosa cells of antral follicles up to the gonadotropin-dependent stage. Decreasing immunoreactivity to PRLrs was found in granulosa cells of gonadotropin-dependent to ovulatory follicles. For long PRLrs in particular, no signal was found in mural granulosa cells of gonadotropin-dependent follicles; for both isoforms, no signal was found in most granulosa cells of ovulatory follicles. In primordial to gonadotropin-dependent follicles, cellular localization of PRLr was similar on days 0, 10 and 15 of the cycle. Oocytes consistently showed positive immunostaining for PRLrs. Comparative RT-PCR analysis of long and short PRLr expression showed that the short isoform is evenly expressed throughout the estrous cycle, whereas the expression of the long form increases at the time of estrus and decreases at mid-luteal phase and at the onset of the follicular phase. Expression of long PRLrs was greater than that of short PRLrs on day 0 of cycle; expression of both isoforms was similar on day 10 and on day 15, long PRLrs expression was lower than that of short PRLrs. Our results indicate that in sheep ovary, the maximum responsiveness to PRL might occur during the preovulatory phase of the estrous cycle.
R A Picazo, J P García Ruiz, J Santiago Moreno, A González de Bulnes, J Muñoz, G Silván, P L Lorenzo and J C Illera
J A Tamblyn, L E Jeffery, R Susarla, D M Lissauer, S L Coort, A Muñoz Garcia, K Knoblich, A L Fletcher, J N Bulmer, M D Kilby and M Hewison
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in pregnant women and is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, in particular disorders of malplacentation. The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), is a potent regulator of innate and adaptive immunity, but its immune effects during pregnancy remain poorly understood. During early gestation, the predominant immune cells in maternal decidua are uterine natural killer cells (uNK), but the responsivity of these cells to 1,25(OH)2D3 is unknown despite high levels of 1,25(OH)2D3 in decidua. Transcriptomic responses to 1,25(OH)2D3 were characterised in paired donor uNK and peripheral natural killer cells (pNK) following cytokine (CK) stimulation. RNA-seq analyses indicated 911 genes were differentially expressed in CK-stimulated uNK versus CK-stimulated pNK in the absence of 1,25(OH)2D3, with predominant differentially expressed pathways being associated with glycolysis and transforming growth factor β (TGFβ). RNA-seq also showed that the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and its heterodimer partner retinoid X receptor were differentially expressed in CK-stimulated uNK vs CK-stimulated pNK. Further analyses confirmed increased expression of VDR mRNA and protein, as well as VDR-RXR target in CK-stimulated uNK. RNA-seq analysis showed that in CK-stimulated pNK, 1,25(OH)2D3 induced 38 and suppressed 33 transcripts, whilst in CK-stimulated uNK 1,25(OH)2D3 induced 46 and suppressed 19 genes. However, multiple comparison analysis of transcriptomic data indicated that 1,25(OH)2D3 had no significant overall effect on gene expression in either CK-stimulated pNK or uNK. These data indicate that CK-stimulated uNK are transcriptionally distinct from pNK and, despite expressing abundant VDR, neither pNK nor uNK are sensitive targets for vitamin D.