Colony-stimulating factor 2 (CSF2), also known as granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, facilitates mammalian embryonic development and implantation. However, biological functions and regulatory mechanisms of action of porcine endometrial CSF2 in peri-implantation events have not been elucidated. The aim of present study was to determine changes in cellular activities induced by CSFs and to access CSF2-induced intracellular signaling in porcine primary trophectoderm (pTr) cells. Differences in expression of CSF2 mRNA in endometrium from cyclic and pregnant gilts were evaluated. Endometrial CSF2 mRNA expression increases during the peri-implantation period, Days 10 to 14 of pregnancy, as compared to the estrous cycle. pTr cells obtained in Day 12 of pregnancy were cultured in the presence or absence of CSF2 (20 ng/ml) and LY294002 (20 μM), U0126 (20 μM), rapamycin (20 nM), and SB203580 (20 μM). CSF2 in pTr cell culture medium at 20 ng/ml significantly induced phosphorylation of AKT1, ERK1/2, MTOR, p70RSK and RPS6 protein, but not STAT3 protein. Also, the PI3K specific inhibitor (LY294002) abolished CSF2-induced increases in p-ERK1/2 and p-MTOR proteins, as well as CSF2-induced phosphorylation of AKT1. Changes in proliferation and migration of pTr cells in response to CSF2 were examined in dose- and time-response experiments. CSF2 significantly stimulated pTr cell proliferation and, U0126, rapamycin and LY294002 blocked this CSF2-induced proliferation of pTr cells. Collectively, during the periimplantation phase of pregnancy in pigs, endometrial CSF2 stimulates proliferation of trophectoderm cells by activation of the PI3K-and ERK1/2 MAPK-dependent MTOR signal transduction cascades.
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