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Mol Reprod Dev. 2009 Jul;76(7):678-88. doi: 10.1002/mrd.21010.

Dicer is required for female reproductive tract development and fertility in the mouse.

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Department of Genetics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Dicer encodes a riboendonuclease required for microRNA biosynthesis. Dicer was inactivated in Müllerian duct mesenchyme-derived tissues of the reproductive tract of the mouse, using an Amhr2-Cre allele. Although Amhr2-Cre; Dicer conditional mutant males appeared normal and were fertile, mutant females were infertile. In adult mutant females, there was a reduction in the size of the oviducts and uterine horns. The oviducts were less coiled compared to controls and cysts formed at the isthmus near the uterotubal junction. Unfertilized, degenerate oocytes were commonly found within these cysts, indicating a defect in embryo transit. Beads transferred into the mutant oviduct failed to migrate into the uterus. In addition, blastocysts transferred directly into the mutant uterus did not result in pregnancy. Histological analysis demonstrated that the mutant uterus contained less glandular tissue and often the few glands that remained were found within the myometrium, an abnormal condition known as adenomyosis. In adult mutants, there was ectopic expression of Wnt4 and Wnt5a in the luminal epithelium (LE) and glandular epithelium (GE) of the uterus, and Wnt11 was ectopically expressed in GE. These results demonstrate that Dicer is necessary for postnatal differentiation of Müllerian duct mesenchyme-derived tissues of the female reproductive tract, suggesting that microRNAs are important regulators of female reproductive tract development and fertility.

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