This study has explored the localization and synthesis of the serglycin proteoglycan in the murine embryo and uterine decidua during midgestation. Embryos in deciduae were subjected to in situ hybridization with cRNA probes and to immunohistochemical detection with a specific antibody against murine serglycin. Adherent decidual cell cultures were prepared from freshly isolated deciduae. Proteoglycan biosynthesis was investigated by labeling intact deciduae and decidual cultures with 35S-sulfate. Serglycin mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization throughout the mesometrial portion and at the periphery of the antimesometrial portion of the decidua at Embryonic Day (E) 8.5, and in the parietal endoderm surrounding the embryo. Serglycin mRNA was detected in fetal liver at E11.5–E14.5. Serglycin was detected by immunohistochemistry in decidua and parietal endoderm at E8.5 and in liver at E13.5. Most of the proteoglycans synthesized by cultured intact deciduae (78%) and adherent decidual cultures (91%) were secreted into the medium. Serglycin proteoglycan may play an important role in uterine decidual function during early postimplantation development.
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