This study aimed to determine whether the acceleration of conceptus development induced by the administration of exogenous progesterone (P4) during the preimplantation period of pregnancy alters calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D signaling at the maternal–conceptus interface. Suffolk ewes (n = 48) were mated to fertile rams and received daily intramuscular injections of either corn oil (CO) vehicle or 25 mg of progesterone in CO (P4) for the first 8 days of pregnancy and hysterectomized on either Day 9 (CO, n = 5; P4, n = 6), 12 (CO, n = 9; P4, n = 4) or 125 (CO, n = 14; P4, n = 10) of gestation. The expression of S100A12 (P < 0.05) and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR2) (P < 0.01) messenger RNAs (mRNAs) was lower in endometria from P4-treated ewes on Day 12. The expression of ADAM10 (P < 0.05) mRNA was greater in endometria from P4-treated ewes on Day 125. The expression of ADAM10 (P < 0.01), FGFR2 (P < 0.05), solute carrier (SLC)20A1 (P < 0.05), TRPV5 (P < 0.05), and TRPV6 (P < 0.01) mRNAs was greater, but KL mRNA expression was lower (P < 0.05) in placentomes from P4-treated ewes at Day 125. There was lower endometrial and greater placentomal expression of mRNAs involved in mineral metabolism and transport in twin compared to singleton pregnancies. Further, the expression of mRNAs involved in mineral metabolism and transport was greater in P4-treated twin placentomes. KL, FGF23, vitamin D receptor (VDR), S100A9, S100A12, S100G, and CYP27B1 proteins were immunolocalized in endometria and placentomes. Exogenous P4 in early pregnancy altered the expression of regulators of calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D on Day 125 of pregnancy indicating a novel effect of P4 on mineral transport at the maternal–conceptus interface.
Exogenous progesterone in early pregnancy affects the expression of regulators of calcium, phosphate, and vitamin D in late pregnancy, suggesting previously unappreciated effects on mineral transport at the maternal–conceptus interface of sheep.