Osteopontin and integrin alpha(v)beta(3) are known to mediate cell-cell attachment and cell migration. Western blot analysis was used to demonstrate the presence of osteopontin in oviductal fluid collected from ampullar and isthmic regions. Three different osteopontin isoforms of 55 kDa, 48 kDa and 25 kDa were detected in the oviductal fluid. Each isoform was observed during the luteal and non-luteal phases and in both ampullar and isthmic fluids. The 25 kDa osteopontin was the most prevalent isoform in oviductal fluid except in isthmic fluid during the non-luteal phase of the oestrous cycle. RT-PCR was performed with RNA from oviductal cells collected from cows in the post-ovulatory, early to mid-luteal, late luteal or pre-ovulatory stages of the oestrous cycle to reveal the oviduct as a site of osteopontin and integrin synthesis. Only one osteopontin mRNA transcript was detected, and amounts did not vary throughout the oestrous cycle. In contrast, the relative expression of the integrin subtypes alpha(v) and beta(1) during the late luteal phase was lower compared with the other oestrous cycle phases. Integrin beta(3) mRNA content increased significantly from the lowest level during the late luteal phase to the highest level before ovulation. In conclusion, differential presence of osteopontin isoforms and integrins in the bovine oviduct throughout the oestrous cycle indicate that osteopontin-integrin interactions have functional roles in normal oviduct physiology which may potentially influence interactions between the gametes, the embryo, and the epithelium.
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