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Mol Hum Reprod. 2001 Nov;7(11):1047-56.

Quantification of transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta1) mRNA expression in mouse preimplantation embryos and determination of TGFbeta receptor (type I and type II) expression in mouse embryos and reproductive tract.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.


We hypothesized that transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta(1)) and its receptors play a role in the interaction between the preimplantation embryo and the reproductive tract. To investigate this hypothesis, TGFbeta 1 mRNA in mouse embryos was quantified by competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction using an RNA mimic. TGFbeta 1 was first detected in the unfertilized oocyte, disappeared after fertilization and was expressed again at the 2-cell stage (4410 +/- 1330 transcripts/embryo). Its expression increased gradually, peaked at the 8-cell stage (58 600 +/- 17 300 transcripts/embryo) and declined rapidly after the morula stage reaching a concentration of 1520 +/- 546 transcripts/embryo at the blastocyst stage. The mRNA levels of TGFbeta 1 at the 8-cell and morula stages were significantly higher than that at other cell stages (P < 0.05). The expression of TGF receptors in embryos and in the reproductive tract was also investigated. Both TGFbeta(1) type I (ALK-5) and type II TGFbeta receptors were detected in embryos from 1-cell to blastocyst stage by immunohistochemistry. Northern hybridization and immunohistochemistry showed a constant expression of both TGFbeta receptors in the oviduct from day 1 to day 4 of pregnancy, whilst in the uterus there was a marked increase in the expression of TGFbeta type I receptor on day 3. Expression of TGFbeta type II receptor in the uterus remained unaltered throughout the study period. This study has shown that preimplantation mouse embryos produce TGFbeta(1) and that both the embryos and the reproductive tract are responsive to TGFbeta(1) in the preimplantation period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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