Immunolocalization of angiogenic growth factors in the ovine uterus during the oestrus cycle and in response to Steroids

Tremaine, T D and Fouladi-Nashta, A A (2018) Immunolocalization of angiogenic growth factors in the ovine uterus during the oestrus cycle and in response to Steroids. REPRODUCTION IN DOMESTIC ANIMALS, 53 (3). pp. 667-679.

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Abstract

The vascular changes associated with endometrial maturation in preparation for embryo implantation depend on numerous growth factors, known to regulate key angiogenic events. Primarily, the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) family promotes vascular growth, whilst the angiopoietins maintain blood vessel integrity. The aim was to analyse protein levels of VEGFA ligand and receptors, Angiopoietin‐1 and 2 (ANG1/2) and endothelial cell receptor tyrosine kinase (TIE‐2) in the ovine endometrium in the follicular and luteal phases of the oestrus cycle and in response to ovarian steroids. VEGFA and its receptors were localized in both vascular cells and non‐vascular epithelium (glandular and luminal epithelium) and stroma cells. VEGFA and VEGFR2 proteins were elevated in vascular cells in follicular phase endometrium, compared to luteal phase, most significantly in response to oestradiol. VEGFR1 was expressed by epithelial cells and endothelial cells and was stimulated in response to oestradiol. In contrast, Ang‐1 and Ang‐2 proteins were elevated in luteal phase endometrium compared to follicular phase, and in response to progesterone, evident in vascular smooth muscle cells and glands which surround TIE‐2‐expressing blood vessels. Our findings indicate that VEGFA is stimulated by oestradiol, most predominantly in follicular phase endometrium, and Ang‐1 and 2 are stimulated by progesterone and were increased during the luteal phase of the oestrus cycle, during the time of vascular maturation.