The fetal fluids and uterine flushings of pigs contain higher concentrations of fructose than glucose, but fructose is not detected in maternal blood. Fructose can be synthesized from glucose via enzymes of the polyol pathway, aldose reductase (AKR1B1) and sorbitol dehydrogenase (SORD), transported across cell membranes by solute carriers SLC2A5 and SLC2A8, and converted to fructose-1-phosphate by ketohexokinase (KHK). SLC2A8, SLC2A5, AKR1B1, SORD, and KHK mRNAs and proteins were analyzed using quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization in endometria and placentae of cyclic and pregnant gilts, cyclic gilts injected with estrogen, and ovariectomized gilts injected with progesterone. Progesterone up-regulated SLC2A8 protein in uterine luminal (LE) and glandular epithelia during the peri-implantation period, and expression became exclusively placental, chorion and blood vessels, after Day 30. P4 up-regulated SLC2A5 mRNA in uterine LE and glandular epithelia after implantation, and the chorion expressed SLC2A5 between Days 30 and 85. AKR1B1 and SORD proteins localized to uterine LE during the peri-implantation period, but expression switched to chorion by Day 20 and was maintained through Day 85. Uterine expression of AKR1B1 mRNA was down-regulated by estrogen. KHK protein localized to trophectoderm/chorion throughout gestation. These results provide evidence that components for the conversion of glucose to fructose and for fructose transport are present at the uterine-placental interface of pigs. The shift in expression from LE to chorion during pregnancy suggests free-floating conceptuses are supported by fructose synthesized by the uterus, but after implantation, the chorion becomes self-sufficient for fructose synthesis and transport.
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Vol. 95 • No. 5