Discovery of candidate genes and pathways in the endometrium regulating ovine blastocyst growth and conceptus elongation

M. Carey Satterfield, Gwonhwa Song, Kelli J. Kochan, Penny K. Riggs, Rebecca M. Simmons, Christine G. Elsik, David L. Adelson, Fuller W. Bazer, Huaijun Zhou, Thomas E. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Establishment of pregnancy in ruminants requires blastocyst growth to form an elongated conceptus that produces interferon tau, the pregnancy recognition signal, and initiates implantation. Blastocyst growth and development requires secretions from the uterine endometrium. An early increase in circulating concentrations of progesterone (P4) stimulates blastocyst growth and elongation in ruminants. This study utilized sheep as a model to identify candidate genes and regulatory networks in the endometrium that govern preimplantation blastocyst growth and development. Ewes were treated daily with either P4 or corn oil vehicle from day 1.5 after mating to either day 9 or day 12 of pregnancy when endometrium was obtained by hysterectomy. Microarray analyses revealed many differentially expressed genes in the endometria affected by day of pregnancy and early P4 treatment. In situ hybridization analyses revealed that many differentially expressed genes were expressed in a cell-specific manner within the endometrium. The Database for Annotation, Visualization, and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) was used to identify functional groups of genes and biological processes in the endometrium that are associated with growth and development of preimplantation blastocysts. Notably, biological processes affected by day of pregnancy and/or early P4 treatment included lipid biosynthesis and metabolism, angiogenesis, transport, extracellular space, defense and inflammatory response, proteolysis, amino acid transport and metabolism, and hormone metabolism. This transcriptomic data provides novel insights into the biology of endometrial function and preimplantation blastocyst growth and development in sheep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-99
Number of pages15
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct
Externally publishedYes


  • Blastocyst
  • Endometrium
  • Microarray
  • Preimplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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