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In Vivo. 2012 Nov-Dec;26(6):899-906.

Sequential changes in the expression of Wnt- and Notch-related genes in the vagina and uterus of ovariectomized mice after estrogen exposure.

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Department of Material and Biological Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Yamagata University, Kojirakawa-machi, Yamagata, Japan.


Estrogen regulates morphological changes in reproductive organs, such as the vagina and uterus, during the estrous cycles in mice. Estrogen depletion by ovariectomy in adults results in atrophy accompanied by apoptosis in vaginal and uterine cells, while estrogen treatment following ovariectomy elicits cell proliferation in both organs. Sequential changes in mRNA expression of wingless-related MMTV integration site (Wnt) and Notch signaling genes were analyzed in the vagina and uterus of ovariectomized adult mice after a single injection of 17β-estradiol to provide understanding over the molecular basis of differences in response to estrogen in these organs. We found estrogen-dependent up-regulation of Wnt4, Wnt5a and p21 and down-regulation of Wnt11, hairy/enhancer-of-split related with YRPW motif-1 (Hey1) and delta-like 4 (Dll4) in the vagina, and up-regulation of Wnt4, Wnt5a, Hey1, Heyl, Dll1, p21 and p53 and down-regulation of Wnt11, Hey2 and Dll4 in the uterus. The expression of Wnt4, Hey1, Hey2, Heyl, Dll1 and p53 showed different patterns after the estrogen injection. Expression patterns for Wnt5a, Wnt11, Dll4 and p21 in the vagina and uterus were similar, suggesting that these genes are involved in the proliferation of cells in both those organs in mice.

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