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Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2013 Aug;45(2):55-63. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2013.05.001. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Molecular characterization and expression profile of ghrelin gene during different reproductive phases in buffalo (Bubalus bubalis).

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  • 1Genome Analysis Laboratory, Animal Genetics Division, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar 243122, India.


Ghrelin, a novel motilin-related endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagouge receptor, is implicated in various biological functions, including regulation of female reproduction. But the presence of ghrelin and its role in reproductive functions in buffalo, a species with poor reproductive efficiency, is not known. In the present study full-length ghrelin cDNA was isolated from bubaline abomasum, which encodes the entire prepropeptide of 116 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of ghrelin of buffalo showed >95% and 31% identity with that of ruminants (cattle, sheep, and goat) and humans, respectively. Analysis of synonymous and nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions in the coding region of ghrelin indicated that these sequences of different species have been under purifying selection. The 3995-bp amplicon of ghrelin gene consisting of 4 exons and 3 introns was cloned with genomic DNA from buffalo. Further, ghrelin expression was determined by quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry in bubaline endometrial tissues at different stages of the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. Our results indicated the persistent expression of ghrelin mRNA and protein in the endometrium during stage I (day 3-5), stage II (day 6-15), and stage III (day 16-21) of the estrous cycle and also during early (~day 30-40) pregnancy. Immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time PCR experiments indicated the relatively higher expression of ghrelin in the endometrium during stage II (day 6-15) of the estrous cycle and early pregnancy than during stage I (day 3-5) and stage III (day 16-21) of the estrous cycle, but no statistically significant difference in ghrelin expression was observed among stages. To conclude, the results of the present study indicate the persistent expression of ghrelin in the uterine endometrium throughout the estrous cycle and in early pregnancy which might be helpful in determining its role in buffalo reproduction.


Buffalo; Endometrium; Estrous cycle; Gene expression; Ghrelin; Pregnancy

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