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Reproduction. 2005 Sep;130(3):321-32.

Nitric oxide in blastocyst implantation in the rhesus monkey.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Successful blastocyst implantation depends on the interaction between cells of maternal endometrium and conceptus, as well as adequate blood supply to the site of blastocyst implantation. Nitric oxide (NO) generally plays a significant role in the local regulation of vascular physiology in a variety of mammalian tissue systems, however, its role in blastocyst implantation and placentation in the primate is not known. The aim of the present study was to examine: (i) NADH-diaphorase activity and expression of three isoforms of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), namely endothelial NOS (eNOS), inducible NOS (iNOS) and neuronal NOS (nNOS) in pre-implantation stage monkey embryos, morula (n = 4) and blastocyst (n = 10), as well as, in different compartments of conceptus and maternal endometrium at primary implantation sites during lacunar (n = 6) and villous (n = 9) stages of placentation in the rhesus monkey, and (ii) the potential anti-nidatory effect of vaginal administration of NOS inhibitor during the peri-implantation period of conception cycles in rhesus monkeys. Pre-implantation stage blastocysts exhibited marked NADPH-diaphorase activity along with immunopositive iNOS mainly in the inner cell mass. During the lacunar stage, marked eNOS expression was observed in cytotrophoblast cells lining the embryonic cavity. However, cytotrophoblast cells lining villi, forming columns, and constituting anchoring villi expressed all the three isoforms of NOS in villous placenta stage tissue. During the lacunar stage, eNOS and iNOS protein expressions were observed in epithelial and decidual cells of endometrium. As gestation advanced, mRNAs for all three isoforms of NOS were observed to increase in epithelial and decidual cells, however, with no marked change in protein expression. Vaginal administration of a NOS inhibitor (N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester, L-NAME, 4, 6, and 8 mg/kg body weight or aminoguanidine, AG, 4 mg/kg body weight) during days 6 to 12 after ovulation resulted in pregnancy failure in a higher number of animals (L-NAME: 8 confirmed pregnancies in 25 animals; AG: 2 confirmed pregnancies in 8 animals) compared with control animals (5 pregnancies in 7 animals). It appears that NO may play an important role in the establishment of pregnancy in the rhesus monkey.

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