Conceptus interferon in uterine flush, endometrial concentrations of oxytocin receptors and prostaglandin F2 alpha release in vitro after transfer of conceptuses to ewes induced to ovulate at 28 days postpartum

Jacqueline Wallace, Raymond Aitken, M A CHEYNE

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We examined the key events underlying maternal recognition of pregnancy and the prevention of luteolysis in early postpartum ewes by synchronously transferring single expanded blastocysts recovered from control ewes on day 11 of pregnancy into the uterus of either postpartum recipients that had been induced to ovulate 28 days after lambing (n = 12) or control recipients (n = 11). Conceptus development, uterine flush interferon (oTP-1) concentrations, endometrial oxytocin receptor concentrations and endometrial prostaglandin F-2 alpha (PGF(2 alpha)) release in vitro were determined 5 days later (corresponding to day 16 of the ovarian cycle). By this stage, both conceptus mass and oTP-1 content of total uterine flush in the eight postpartum recipients that remained pregnant were significantly lower (P < 0.01) than in the eight pregnant control ewes (524 +/- 116.6 versus 959 +/- 80.6 mg and 968 +/- 16.9 versus 1512 +/- 106.2 ng oTP-1 for postpartum and control recipients, respectively). These effects were independent of ovulation rate and daily peripheral progesterone concentrations after blastocyst transfer, which were similar between groups. Endometrial oxytocin receptor density was variable in both groups when they were killed, and was generally higher in pregnant postpartum than in control recipients, and was significantly different (P < 0.05) when the values for the transfer but not the contralateral uterine hems were compared. Similarly, basal and oxytocin-stimulated endometrial PGF(2 alpha) release during a 4 h incubation were higher (P < 0.01) in pregnant postpartum versus control recipients. Irrespective of treatment group and when expressed per uterine hem, conceptus mass was highly negatively correlated with number of oxytocin receptors and PGF(2 alpha) release in vitro. The results of this study imply that suboptimal conceptus growth rates and secretion of oTP-1, resulting in an inability to regulate endometrial oxytocin receptor-mediated PGF(2 alpha) secretion, may be central to pregnancy failure in the early postpartum ewe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Reproduction and Fertility
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1995


  • ovine trophoblast protein-1
  • corpus-luteum
  • post-partum
  • autoradiographical localization
  • maternal recognition
  • growth-factors
  • estrous-cycle
  • pregnancy
  • sheep
  • progesterone

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