Fibroblast growth factor 7 (FGF7) stimulates cell proliferation, differentiation, migration and angiogenesis. The consensus is that FGF7, expressed by mesenchymal cells, binds FGF receptor 2IIIb (FGFR2) on epithelia, thereby mediating epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. The pig uterus is unique in that FGF7 is expressed by the luminal epithelium (LE) and FGFR2 is expressed by the LE, glandular epithelium (GE), and trophectoderm to effect proliferation and differentiated cell functions during conceptus development and implantation. FGF7 expression by the uterine LE of pigs increases between Days 9 and 12 of the estrus cycle and pregnancy, as circulating concentrations of progesterone increase, progesterone receptors (PGR) in the uterine epithelia decrease, and the conceptuses secrete estradiol-17beta (E2), for pregnancy recognition. Furthermore, E2 increases the expression of FGF7 in pig uterine explants. The present study investigates the relationships between progesterone, E2, and their receptors and the expression of FGF7 in the pig uterus in vivo. Pigs were ovariectomized on Day 4 of the estrus cycle and injected i.m. daily from Day 4 to Day 12 with either corn oil (CO), progesterone (P4), P4 and ZK317,316 (PZK), E2, P4 and E2 (PE), or P4 and ZK and E2 (PZKE). All gilts (n = 5/treatment) were hysterectomized on Day 12. The results suggest that: 1) P4 is permissive to FGF7 expression by down-regulating PGR in LE; 2) P4 stimulates PGR-positive uterine stromal cells to release an unidentified progestamedin that induces FGF7 expression by LE; 3) E2 and P4 can induce FGF7 when PGR are rendered nonfunctional by ZK; and 4) E2 from conceptuses interacts via estrogen receptor alpha, but not estrogen receptor beta in LE to induce maximal expression of FGF7 in LE on Day 12 of pregnancy in pigs.
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Vol. 77 • No. 1