Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and the polyamine catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) are progesterone-regulated genes with maximal expression at peri-implantation in the porcine uterine endometrium. However, while IGF-I stimulates cell proliferation, SSAT, by acetylating the naturally occurring polyamines (PA) spermine (SPM) and spermidine (SPD), typically functions as a cell growth inhibitor. The present study examined the functional relationships of IGF-I, SSAT, and PA in the control of endometrial cell proliferation. Northern blot analysis indicated that SSAT mRNA levels change with distinct pregnancy stages, in contrast to those for the PA biosynthetic enzyme ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). Primary cultures of luminal and glandular epithelial (LE, GE) and stromal (ST) cells isolated from Day 12 pregnant pig endometrium had IGF-I mRNA levels for ST > LE > GE cells. The mRNA levels for SSAT and ODC were transiently diminished by IGF-I treatment, but only in GE cells. By contrast, SPM and SPD increased SSAT mRNA levels in GE and ST cells, but increased ODC mRNA levels only in GE cells. IGF-I, putrescine (PUT), and SPM individually increased cellular DNA synthesis as measured by tritiated thymidine incorporation in GE and ST cells, while SPD had an effect only in ST cells. IGF-I enhanced the proliferative effect of each PA in GE cells, but only of SPD in ST cells. The mitogen-activated protein kinase inhibitor, PD98059, inhibited the induction by SPM of GE cell DNA synthesis but not that of IGF-I. Wortmannin, a phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase inhibitor had no effect on either IGF-I or SPM induction of GE cell DNA synthesis. The relative concentrations of SPM, SPD, and PUT in uterine luminal fluids differed, with the levels for each PA higher at pregnancy Day 12 than at 11.5. These results suggest that IGF-I and PA act through distinct signaling pathways to mediate cell-type-specific growth of early pregnancy pig uterine endometrium. Further, SSAT, through its control of intracellular PA levels, likely plays a modulatory role in the establishment of an optimal uterine environment for successful embryo attachment.
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