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K Herzog, L Debertolis, J P Kastelic, M Schmicke, S E Ulbrich and H Bollwein

The objective was to characterize effects of Escherichia coli LPS (given i.v.) on corpus luteum (CL) and embryonic viability in early pregnant cattle. Eight non-lactating German Holstein cows were given 0.5 µg/kg LPS on 35 ± 3 day (mean ± s.e.m.) of pregnancy, whereas seven heifers, 41 ± 6 day pregnant, were given 10 mL saline (control group). Transrectal B-mode examinations of the CL were done at −1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h relative to treatment. Blood samples were collected at −1, 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 24, 48, 72 and 96 h. At 12 and 48 h, the CL was biopsied. None of the cows still in the experiment 10 day after LPS (n = 7) had embryonic loss. In LPS-treated cows, luteal area decreased (from 4.1 to 3.1 cm2; P ≤ 0.05) within 6 h and until 48 h. Luteal blood flow decreased by 39% (P ≤ 0.05) within the first 6 h after LPS, but returned to pre-treatment values by 48 h. Plasma P4 decreased by 62% (P ≤ 0.05), reached a nadir (2.7 ± 0.6 ng/mL) at 12 h after LPS and was not restored to pre-treatment (P ≤ 0.05). In luteal tissue, mRNAs for STAR and for FGF1 were lower (P ≤ 0.05) in LPS than in saline-treated cattle at 12 h, with no difference between groups at 48 h. Levels of mRNAs for CASP3 and FGF2 were not different between groups (P > 0.05) at 12 or 48 h after treatment. In conclusion, LPS transiently suppressed CL function, but did not induce embryonic mortality.

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J Lüttgenau, K Herzog, K Strüve, S Latter, A Boos, R M Bruckmaier, H Bollwein and M P Kowalewski

When given intravenously (iv), lipopolysaccharide (LPS) transiently suppresses the structure and function of the bovine corpus luteum (CL). This is associated with increased release of prostaglandin (PG) F metabolite. The underlying regulatory mechanisms of this process remain, however, obscure. Therefore, the aims of this study were: i) to investigate the expression of the LPS receptor toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and 2 (TLR2) in the bovine CL during early, mid- and late luteal phases; and ii) to further dissect the mechanisms of LPS-mediated suppression of luteal function. As revealed by semi-quantitative qPCR and immunohistochemistry, both receptors were detectable throughout the luteal lifespan. Their mRNA levels increased from the early toward the mid-luteal phase; no further changes were observed thereafter. The TLR4 protein seemed more highly represented than TLR2. The cellular localization of TLRs was in blood vessels; weaker signals were observed in luteal cells. Additionally, cows were treated either with LPS (iv, 0.5 μg/kg BW) or with saline on Day 10 after ovulation. Samples were collected 1200 h after treatment and on Day 10 of the respective subsequent (untreated) cycle. The mRNA expression of several possible regulatory factors was investigated, revealing the suppression of PGF receptor (PTGFR), STAR protein and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, compared with controls and subsequent cycles. The expression of TLR2 and TLR4, interleukin 1α (IL1A) and (IL1B) and of PGF and PGE2 synthases (HSD20A and mPTGES respectively) was increased. The results demonstrate the presence of TLR2 and TLR4 in the bovine CL, and implicate their possible involvement in the deleterious effects of LPS on its function.

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K Klisch, A Boos, M Friedrich, K Herzog, M Feldmann, NM Sousa, JF Beckers, R Leiser and G Schuler

Binucleate trophoblast giant cells (BNC) in the bovine placenta produce glycoproteins, which are delivered into the mother after fusion of BNC with uterine epithelial cells. During most time of pregnancy, BNC produce pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) and prolactin-related protein-I (PRP-I) with asparagine-linked lactosamine-type glycans terminating with N-acetyl-galactosamine. We show by lectin histochemistry that terminal N-acetyl-galactosamine (detected by Dolichos biflorus agglutinin, DBA) in placentomal BNC is greatly reduced prior to parturition, while lactosamine-type N-glycans (detected by Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin, PHA-L) remain unaltered. The change in DBA-staining showed no statistically significant differences between placentomes of cows with and without retention of fetal membranes. Western blots revealed that, at parturition the apparent molecular mass of PAGs and PRP-I is 1–2 kDa lower than in late pregnancy. These changes are due to alterations of asparagine-linked glycans, since the molecular weight of the peptide backbones after enzymatical release of asparagine-linked glycans is identical at late pregnancy and parturition. Lectin western blots showed a reduction of terminal N-acetyl-galactosamine on PAGs at parturition. A lectin sandwich-ELISAwas used to differentiate DBA- and PHA-L-binding PAGs in sera of pregnant and non-pregnant cows. The values for DBA-binding PAGs at parturition were not significantly different from non-pregnancy, while the values for PHA-L-binding PAGs were significantly higher at parturition. The peripartal changes of PAG- and PRP-I-glycosylation could alter functional properties of these proteins and might therefore be considered for functional studies. The differentiation of PAG glycoforms in maternal serum could be valuable for a further optimization of PAG-based pregnancy diagnosis in cattle.

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K Herzog, K Strüve, J P Kastelic, M Piechotta, S E Ulbrich, C Pfarrer, K Shirasuna, T Shimizu, A Miyamoto and H Bollwein

The objective was to characterize the effects of Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) endotoxin (given i.v.) on luteal structure and function. Seven nonlactating German Holstein cows, 5.1±0.8 years old (mean±s.e.m.), were given 10 ml saline on day 10 (ovulation=day 1) of a control estrous cycle. On day 10 of a subsequent cycle, they were given 0.5 μg/kg LPS. Luteal size decreased (from 5.2 to 3.8 cm2, P≤0.05) within 24 h after LPS treatment and remained smaller throughout the remainder of the cycle. Luteal blood flow decreased by 34% (P≤0.05) within 3 h after LPS and remained lower for 72 h. Plasma progesterone (P4) concentrations increased (P≤0.05) within the first 3 h after LPS but subsequently declined. Following LPS treatment, plasma prostaglandin (PG) F metabolites concentrations were approximately tenfold higher in LPS-treated compared with control cows (9.2 vs 0.8 ng/ml, P≤0.05) within 30 min, whereas plasma PGE concentrations were nearly double (P≤0.05) at 1 h after LPS. At 12 h after treatment, levels of mRNA encoding Caspase-3 in biopsies of the corpus luteum (CL) were increased (P≤0.05), whereas those encoding StAR were decreased (P≤0.05) in cattle given LPS vs saline. The CASP3 protein was localized in the cytoplasm and/or nuclei of luteal cells, whereas StAR was detected in the cytosol of luteal cells. In the estrous cycle following treatment with either saline or LPS, there were no significant differences between groups on luteal size, plasma P4 concentrations, or gene expression. In conclusion, LPS treatment of diestrus cows transiently suppressed both the structure and function of the CL.