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Hum Reprod Update. 1998 Sep-Oct;4(5):605-14.

Bovine endometrial epithelial cells as a model system to study oxytocin receptor regulation.

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  • 1IHF Institute for Hormone and Fertility Research, University of Hamburg, Germany.


Endometrial epithelial cell cultures were established from bovine uterine tissue collected during the oestrous cycle from commercially slaughtered animals. These cells were shown to express moderately high levels of oxytocin receptors (OTR) (up to 30000 per cell) after about one week in culture. These receptors have been characterized at the molecular, pharmacological and functional level and shown to be identical to those expressed in the bovine endometrium in vivo. Preliminary experiments to investigate the regulation of the OTR and its gene using this system, have shown that expression is to a large degree constitutive, the receptors being spontaneously upregulated during culture. Sex steroids at concentrations close to or above the serum limits observed in vivo appeared to have no effect, although the cells were shown to express mRNA for the specific steroid receptors throughout culture. Only the blastocyst product, interferon-tau, showed a significant effect, downregulating both OTR and their gene transcripts in the cultured endometrial epithelial cells. Although more extensive studies are necessary, these results support the view that the OTR gene is controlled in part at least by a combination of constitutive and inhibitory elements.

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