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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pregnancy-specific alterations in the expression of the insulin-like growth factor system during early placental development in the ewe.

The placenta is recognized as an important determinant of fetal growth rate, yet the factors regulating its proliferation remain poorly understood. Components of the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system were localized in the ovine uterus using in situ hybridization between days 13-55 of gestation, the period of implantation and placentome formation. IGF-II messenger RNA (mRNA) expression was intense in the fetal mesoderm, particularly at the tips of the invading placentome villi. Moderate levels of IGF-II mRNA were also observed in the maternal caruncular stroma. In contrast, expression of IGF-1 mRNA was low (compared to estrous levels) and ubiquitous decreasing as gestation advanced. IGF-binding protein-2 (IGFBP-2 mRNA was not detected until day 29 of gestation, when it appeared restricted to the dense caruncular-like stroma lining the luminal epithelium, colocalized with IGFBP-4. High concentrations of IGFBP-4 mRNA expression were also found in the placentome capsule. IGFBP-3 mRNA expression was intense in the luminal epithelium between days 13-15 of gestation. Subsequently, levels in this region dropped significantly (P < 0.001). IGFBP-3 mRNA expression was also high in the maternal placentome villi, where photographic emulsions localized expression to blood vessel walls. Peak expression of IGF type 1 receptor (IGF-1R) mRNA was found in the deep uterine glands, with intermediate expression in the superficial uterine glands. Moderate expression of IGF-1R mRNA was initially recorded in caruncular stroma, but levels in this region decreased significantly (P < 0.001) to below the detection limit of the technique after interdigitation by the fetal allantochorion. Furthermore, IGF-1R mRNA could not be detected in any fetal placentome tissue. This study, therefore, has established the pattern of expression of the IGFs, IGF-1R, and three of the IGFBPs during establishment of the ovine placenta. It will form the basis for future work to investigate how this system is regulated and to determine the role of the IGFs in placental development.[1]


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