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Reprod Fertil Dev. 2012;24(6):778-93. doi: 10.1071/RD11171.

Transcriptional response of the bovine endometrium and embryo to endometrial polymorphonuclear neutrophil infiltration as an indicator of subclinical inflammation of the uterine environment.

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  • 1Insititute of Animal Science, Animal Breeding and Husbandry Group, University of Bonn, Endenicher Allee 15, 53115 Bonn, Germany.


The aim of the present study was to analyse the effect of subclinical endometritis on endometrial and embryonic gene expression. A total of 49 cows at either Day 0 or Day 7 of the oestrous cycle (62-83 days post partum) following superovulation were classified as having subclinical endometritis (SE-0, SE-7) or a healthy endometrium (HE-0, HE-7) on the basis of endometrial cytological evaluation. Endometrial samples and associated embryos were subjected to global transcriptome analysis using the Bovine GeneChip (Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA, USA) and aberrant transcript profiles were observed in SE-0 and SE-7 cows. At Day 0, 10 transcripts were found to be differentially expressed in endometrial samples. Specifically, the PDZK1, PXDN, DDHD2, GPLD1 and SULT1B1 genes were downregulated, whereas the PKIB, LOC534256, BT29392, LYZ and S100A14 genes were upregulated in SE-0 cows. Similarly, 11 transcripts were found to be differentially regulated on Day 7. Of these, GNPTG, BOLA-DQA5, CHD2, LOC541226, VCAM1 and ARHGEF2 were found to be downregulated, whereas PSTPIP2, BT236441 and MGC166084 were upregulated in SE-7 cows. Accordingly, endometrial health status affected the number of flushed, transferable embryos. In all, 20 genes were differentially regulated in blastocysts derived from HE-7 and SE-7 cows. Of these, GZMK, TCEAL4, MYL7, ADD3 and THEM50B were upregulated, whereas NUDCD2, MYO1E, BZW1, EHD4 and GZMB were downregulated. In conclusion, endometrial polymorphonuclear neutrophil infiltration as an indicator of subclinical endometritis is associated with changes in endometrial gene expression patterns, including genes involved in cell adhesion and immune modulation. Consequently, subclinical endometritis affects gene expression in embryos, including the expression of genes related to membrane stability, the cell cycle and apoptosis.

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