Expression profiles of perforin, granzyme B and granulysin genes during the estrous cycle and gestation in the bovine endometrium
The conceptus is susceptible to destruction by maternal cytotoxic lymphocytes, which have cytotoxic potential. Therefore, it is expected that mechanisms for regulating cytotoxic lymphocytes exist, but little is known about the expression of cytotoxic genes in the endometrium. In the present study, we examined the spatial and temporal expression patterns of the cytotoxic genes perforin, granzyme B, and granulysin during the estrous cycle and gestation in the bovine endometrium. Endometrial tissues were collected from cows during the estrous cycle and gestation. The gene expression patterns of the three cytotoxic genes were examined using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization, and cytotoxic lymphocyte subsets were characterized using immunohistochemistry. During mid‐ to late gestation in the intercaruncular (ICAR), granulysin expression was significantly increased, and a large number of granulysin‐expressing cells were localized in the luminal epithelium. Perforin and granzyme B displayed similar expression profiles and were highly expressed in the peri‐implantation endometrium, but few cells expressing these genes were found in the endometrial stroma. In conclusion, these findings suggest that in the ICAR epithelium granulysin may play important roles in the establishment and maintenance of gestation during normal pregnancy.
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