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Reprod Domest Anim. 2007 Dec;42(6):654-9.

Matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9 activity in the canine uterus before and during placentation.

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Department for Obstetrics and Gynecology, Graduate School of Health Sciences Institute, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ankara, Diskapi, Ankara, Turkey.


The aim of the present study was to demonstrate the presence and localization of MMP-2 and -9 by means of RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) within the canine uterus from the pre-implantation stage until mid-gestation and to determine MMP-2 and -9 activities by means of zymography. For this purpose, samples of the uterus and salpinx from bitches were obtained after ovariohysterectomy. Pre-implantation stages (5-12 days after mating, n = 11) were determined by verifying embryos after flushing the uterus. Further groups were determined as implantation (15-19 days after mating, n = 9), post-implantation (20-30 days after mating, n = 9) and placental stages (30-45 days after mating, n = 3). A non-pregnant group (17-30 days after mating, n = 4) served as control. MMP-2 and -9 positive cells were detected in all specimens from pregnant and nonpregnant bitches, however, with different distributions. MMP-2 was present in endothelium and smooth muscles of blood vessels and the myometrium of pregnant and nonpregnant bitches, additionally in the surface epithelium of the oviduct. The latter also stained positive for MMP-9. During placentation, MMP-2 was detected mainly in fetal blood vessels and trophoblastic cells. Higher MMP-2 activity was observed in the endometrium and myometrium of all pregnant groups compared with the nonpregnant group (p < 0.05). The pregnant groups did not differ significantly from each other (p > 0.05). MMP-9 was present in blood vessels, smooth muscle cells and epithelia, such as maternal surface epithelial cells, uterine crypts and glands. During placentation, the deep uterine glands and the epithelium of the glandular chambers were immunoreactive to MMP-9. Highest MMP-9 activities were reached in the endometrium of the pre-implantation group (23.2% of total MMP-9) and placental parts (33.3%).

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