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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2008 Apr;19(2):170-7. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

Interferons and the maternal-conceptus dialog in mammals.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.


Two-way communication between the conceptus and the mother during early pregnancy is essential if the pregnancy is to survive. In this review, our primary focus is on biochemical communication between the conceptus and mother in the ruminant ungulate species. We emphasize, in particular, the role played by interferon-tau (IFNT) in triggering maternal responses in cattle and sheep and how maternal factors intervene to up-regulate IFNT gene (IFNT) expression in trophoblast. However, we also consider the possibility that different signaling cytokines or the physical presence of trophoblast may induce a partial IFN response in endometrium of those species where there is no evidence for large scale trophoblast IFN production. Conceivably, disparate signaling mechanisms trigger common downstream events necessary to secure a successful pregnancy.

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