Tissue kallikreins are present in rat uterus during the estrous cycle in luminal and glandular epithelium, in early gestation in the implantation node, and in the last third of pregnancy surrounding the sinusoids in the decidua basalis. The pattern of kinin B2 receptor expression, through which the vasoactive effect of kallikreins is exerted, was studied by in vitro autoradiography and immunohistochemistry. The kinin B2 receptor was observed in the luminal and glandular epithelium, myometrium, endothelial cells of arteries, veins and venules, and smooth muscle cells of endometrial and myometrial arterioles. Immunoblotting of crude membranes revealed a band of 69 kDa that increased in late proestrus and estrus, concordantly with the pattern of immunostaining observed in the tissue. At Day 7 of gestation, the kinin B2 receptor was expressed (binding sites and receptor protein) in the epithelium of the implantation node and decidual cells; these latter cells showed a further increase during gestational Days 9 and 10. From Days 14 to 21, the subplacental decidua became strongly immunoreactive, and on Days 16 and 21 the placental labyrinthine endothelium was intensely stained. During this period, endothelium of arteries and veins, smooth muscular cells of small diameter arterioles, and myometrium also expressed B2 receptors. In unilaterally oil-stimulated pseudopregnancy, the decidual cells and the glandular epithelium show similar immunoreactivity to that during pregnancy. The temporospatial pattern of kinin B2 receptors, coinciding with that of kallikrein or with sites accessible to the generated kinins, further supports an autocrine-paracrine role for the kallikrein-kinin system in the vasoactive changes of implantation and placental blood flow regulation.
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