Stanniocalcin (STC) is a hormone in fish that regulates calcium levels. Mammals have two orthologs of STC with roles in calcium and phosphate metabolism and perhaps cell differentiation. In the kidney and gut, STC regulates calcium and phosphate homeostasis. In the mouse uterus, Stc1 increases in the mesometrial decidua during implantation. These studies determined the effects of pregnancy and related hormones on STC expression in the ovine uterus. In Days 10–16 cyclic and pregnant ewes, STC1 mRNA was not detected in the uterus. Intriguingly, STC1 mRNA appeared on Day 18 of pregnancy, specifically in the endometrial glands, increased from Day 18 to Day 80, and remained abundant to Day 120 of gestation. STC1 mRNA was not detected in the placenta, whereas STC2 mRNA was detected at low abundance in conceptus trophectoderm and endometrial glands during later pregnancy. Immunoreactive STC1 protein was detected predominantly in the endometrial glands after Day 16 of pregnancy and in areolae that transport uterine gland secretions across the placenta. In ovariectomized ewes, long-term progesterone therapy induced STC1 mRNA. Although interferon tau had no effect on endometrial STC1, intrauterine infusions of ovine placental lactogen (PL) increased endometrial gland STC1 mRNA abundance in progestinized ewes. These studies demonstrate that STC1 is induced by progesterone and increased by a placental hormone (PL) in endometrial glands of the ovine uterus during conceptus (embryo/fetus and extraembryonic membranes) implantation and placentation. Western blot analyses revealed the presence of a 25-kDa STC1 protein in the endometrium, uterine luminal fluid, and allantoic fluid. The data suggest that STC1 secreted by the endometrial glands is transported into the fetal circulation and allantoic fluid, where it is hypothesized to regulate growth and differentiation of the fetus and placenta, by placental areolae.
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