In sheep, inflammation not only functions in cervical dilation at parturition, but also plays an important part in the non-pregnant ewe cervix, as demonstrated by the high level of expression of interleukin (IL)-8 at oestrus. Ewes artificially induced to ovulate have significantly lower levels of IL-8 gene expression at oestrus compared with natural oestrus, indicating an inhibition of inflammation and function, offering an explanation for the low rates of conception in vaginally inseminated synchronised ewes. To identify potential pro-inflammatory agents to combat the anti-inflammatory effects of hormonal synchronisation of oestrus, we have investigated the role of proteinase-activated receptor (PAR)-1 and PAR-2. To localise and measure the level of expression of these receptors, ovine-specific probes were derived for PAR-1 and PAR-2 and used for quantitative in situ hybridisation in the ovine cervix. Both PAR-1 and PAR-2 were expressed in the luminal epithelium of the cervix throughout the oestrous cycle, with expression being highest at oestrus. The gene expression of PAR-2 at oestrus was approximately 30% higher than that of PAR-1. Artificial synchronisation of oestrus by either an intravaginal progesterone sponge or prostaglandin F2α injections did not inhibit PAR-1 or PAR-2 expression at oestrus; rather, in the case of PAR-2, progesterone synchronisation increased it. Both synchronising procedures increased the expression of PAR-1 and PAR-2 during the luteal phase of the cycle. Therefore, agonists of PAR-1 and PAR-2 may be potentially useful pro-inflammatory agents countering the inhibition of inflammation by hormonal synchronisation. © CSIRO 2005.
- gene regulation
- reproductive technology