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6 January 2016 The Equine Embryo Influences Immune-Related Gene Expression in the Oviduct
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Although the equine oviduct clearly affects early embryo development and the selective transport of equine embryos through the oviduct indicates a reciprocal interaction, the influence of the embryo on gene expression in the oviduct remains to be determined in the horse. The aim of this study was to examine this by means of RNA sequencing. Four days after ovulation, epithelial cells ipsilateral and contralateral to the ovulation side from five cyclic and five pregnant mares were collected from the oviduct. RNA was extracted, samples were sequenced, and data analysis was performed to determine differentially expressed genes (DEGs) (P value ≤0.05 and absolute fold change ≥2) and to provide functional interpretation. A total of 10 743 transcripts were identified and 253 genes were found to be upregulated and 108 to be downregulated in the pregnant ipsilateral oviduct when compared to the cyclic ipsilateral oviduct. Comparison of the ipsilateral and the contralateral oviduct indicated 164 DEGs in pregnant mares and 77 DEGs in cyclic mares. Enriched functional categories were detected only in the comparison of pregnant and cyclic ipsilateral oviducts and showed that the equine embryo affects the expression of immune response-related genes in the oviduct, with marked upregulation of interferon-associated genes. This research represents the foundation for further assessment of the role of specific genes in the early embryo-maternal dialogue of the horse.

Katrien Smits, Dieter I.M. De Coninck, Filip Van Nieuwerburgh, Jan Govaere, Mario Van Poucke, Luc Peelman, Dieter Deforce, and Ann Van Soom "The Equine Embryo Influences Immune-Related Gene Expression in the Oviduct," Biology of Reproduction 94(2), (6 January 2016).
Received: 20 October 2015; Accepted: 1 December 2015; Published: 6 January 2016

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