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Theriogenology. 2012 Sep 15;78(5):951-64. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2012.05.016.

Regulation of expression and role of leukemia inhibitory factor and interleukin-6 in the uterus of early pregnant pigs.

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Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences, Olsztyn, Poland.


Cytokines, which are generally involved in the process of inflammation, may also play a critical role in conceptus implantation. We examined: (1) the expression profiles of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and interleukin (IL)-6 mRNA and their protein content in the endometrium of cyclic and pregnant gilts on Days 10 to 18 after estrus; (2) the effect of conceptus-exposed medium on LIF and IL-6 synthesis in the endometrium; (3) the profiles of IL6R and LIFR mRNA expression in pig conceptuses collected on Days 10 to 18 of pregnancy; and (4) the effect of LIF and IL-6 on the attachment and proliferation of porcine trophoblast cells. The expression of LIF mRNA in the endometrium increased between Days 10 and 12 in both cyclic and pregnant gilts, and tended to be higher in Day 12 pregnant animals compared with nonpregnant ones. The LIF protein content in the uterine lumen peaked on Day 12 of pregnancy, and was higher than on Day 12 of the estrous cycle. Endometrial IL-6 mRNA expression was upregulated on Day 12 in pregnant gilts compared with nonpregnant animals. Moreover, a higher content of IL-6 protein was observed in pregnant than in cyclic gilts. The addition of conceptus-exposed medium resulted in up-regulation of LIF and IL6 mRNA expression, and increased IL-6 content in endometrial slices. In conceptuses, increased mRNA expression was detected on Days 10 to 14 for IL6R and on Day 14 for LIFR, when compared with other days studied. LIF and IL-6 stimulated the attachment and proliferation of trophoblast cells in vitro. In summary, LIF and IL-6 are important components of embryo-uterine interactions during early pregnancy in the pig, and may contribute to successful conceptus implantation.

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