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1 October 2004 Estrogen Metabolism in the Equine Conceptus and Endometrium During Early Pregnancy in Relation to Estrogen Concentrations in Yolk-Sac Fluid
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Because estradiol (E2) production by the early equine conceptus is considered crucial to the establishment of pregnancy, the amounts of E2, estrone (E1), and their sulfates (E2S, E1S) were measured by RIA in yolk-sac fluid of 63 conceptuses collected by transcervical lavage over the period of 11–26 days after ovulation. Amounts increased significantly with age of conceptus, especially for E1S. Then, the metabolism of E2, which may be highly relevant for its action, was examined in the conceptus and endometrium over the period when the conceptus ceases to migrate within the uterus. Eleven conceptuses collected mainly on Days 12, 15, and 18, with endometrial biopsy samples taken immediately thereafter, were used for steroid metabolic studies. Trophoblastic and endometrial tissues were incubated with [3H]-labeled E2 or E1, and with [14C]-E1 in one experiment. Steroids were recovered from the media by solid-phase extraction (SPE) and eluted separately as unconjugated and conjugated fractions. Conjugation increased from Day 12 for the trophoblast (more so by bilaminar than trilaminar tissues on Day 18) and was much greater for endometrium, with almost all as sulfoconjugates. HPLC profiles of free and sulfate fractions were obtained from a gradient of acetonitrile/water. Interconversion (E2 ⇌ E1) by trophoblast varied with development; it favored E2 in older conceptuses, more in bilaminar than trilaminar tissues. Some more polar products were also noted, with loss of tritium seen as [3H]2O at SPE, and confirmed by HPLC in a second system with authentic reference steroids. Almost all radioactivity in the endometrium was present as E2 in both free and sulfate fractions. It was concluded that local metabolism of E2 is quantitatively significant and may play an important role in the actions of the large amounts of estradiol produced by the early equine conceptus.

James I. Raeside, Heather L. Christie, Rick L. Renaud, Rudolf O. Waelchli, and Keith J. Betteridge "Estrogen Metabolism in the Equine Conceptus and Endometrium During Early Pregnancy in Relation to Estrogen Concentrations in Yolk-Sac Fluid," Biology of Reproduction 71(4), 1120-1127, (1 October 2004).
Received: 20 February 2004; Accepted: 1 May 2004; Published: 1 October 2004

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