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Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:840121. doi: 10.1155/2013/840121. Epub 2013 Feb 11.

Differential expression of Na+/H+-exchanger (NHE-1, 2, and 4) proteins and mRNA in rodent's uterus under sex steroid effect and at different phases of the oestrous cycle.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Precise uterine fluid pH regulation may involve the Na(+)/H(+)-exchanger (NHE). We hypothesized that NHE isoforms are differentially expressed under different sex steroid treatment and at different oestrous cycle phases which may explain the uterine fluid pH changes observed under these conditions.


Oestrous cycle phases of intact WKY rats were identified by vaginal smear. Another group of rats was ovariectomized and treated with 0.2  μg 17β-oestradiol (E), 4 mg progesterone (P), and E followed by P (E + P). The animals were then sacrificed and the uteri were removed for mRNA and protein expression analyses by real-time PCR and western blotting, respectively. NHE isoforms distribution was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC).


NHE-1 mRNA and protein were upregulated at diestrus (Ds) and following P treatment. Meanwhile, NHE-2 and NHE-4 proteins and mRNA were upregulated at proestrus (Ps) and estrus (Es) and following E treatment. NHE-1 was found predominantly at the apical membrane, while NHE-2 and NHE-4 were found at the apical and basolateral membranes of the luminal epithelia. NHE-4 is the main isoform upregulated by E.


Differential expressions of uterine NHE isoforms 1, 2, and 4 could explain the observed changes in the uterine fluid pH under these conditions.

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