The bovine placenta secretes multiple molecules during implantation and placentation, many of which are produced by binucleate cells. In this study, production of prolactin-related protein I (PRP-I), a member of the non-classical prolactin-related family, was investigated during the implantation period in cows. Expression of bovine PRP-I (bPRP-I) in the placentome was examined during the preimplantation (days 17-19), implantation (days 20-25) and post-implantation (days 30-60) periods by immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and in situ hybridization. During the preimplantation period, both bPRP-I and bovine placental lactogen (bPL) were undetectable in trophoblastic cells. Both bPRP-I mRNA and protein appeared first at day 20 of gestation in trophoblastic binucleate cells and multinuclear cells that might migrate into the endometrium and fuse to epithelium; however, no bPL was detected in binucleate cells at this time. After implantation, on day 30, both bPRP-I and bPL were detected in binucleate cells and were co-expressed in the same cells. These data indicate that bPRP-I may play a role before implantation and that bPRP-I may be an excellent marker for trophoblastic cell differentiation, as well as a candidate for pregnancy diagnosis.
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