J Endocrinol. 1998 Apr;157(1):139-48.
Whitley JC, Shulkes A, Salamonsen LA, Vogiagis D, Familari M, Giraud AS.
University of Melbourne Department of Surgery, Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Abstract Synthesis of both mRNA and peptide for gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) has been demonstrated in the pregnant endometrium of sheep and women. However, it is not known whether GRP is synthesized in the sheep uterus during the oestrous cycle. Furthermore the cellular site of GRP mRNA synthesis in the uterus has not been determined. Therefore we examined the synthesis of GRP and determined the cellular location of GRP peptide and mRNA in sheep uterus taken at different times during the oestrous cycle (duration 17 days) and pregnancy (duration 145 days). Northern blot analysis of RNA isolated from ovine endometrium revealed low or no GRP mRNA at days 4, 10, 12 and 14 of the oestrous cycle and a 24-fold rise in GRP mRNA (normalized to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) mRNA) between days 14 and 16. A similar pattern was observed during early pregnancy, with a 12-fold rise in GRP mRNA:GAPDH mRNA between days 17 and 20 of pregnancy. Levels of GRP peptide were determined by RIA and found to be low in endometrium isolated at days 4, 10, 12 and 14 of the oestrous cycle (1.0-1.6 pmol/g) and 4 to 5-fold higher at day 16. In situ hybridization localized GRP synthesis to the epithelial cells of the uterine glands at day 16 of the oestrous cycle and at days 17, 20, 40 and 50 of pregnancy. At day 140 of pregnancy diffuse hybridization to cells of the myometrium was also observed. Immunohistochemistry localized GRP peptide to the apical cytoplasm of uterine glandular epithelial cells at day 16 of the oestrous cycle. For samples obtained at day 20 of pregnancy, the area surrounding the glands also showed moderately strong staining. Further staining in the glandular lumen and the stromal tissue surrounding the glands was apparent at day 140 of pregnancy. No GRP immunoreactivity could be detected in the peripheral plasma during the oestrous cycle or the first 20 days of pregnancy. Sizing chromatography of GRP immunoreactivity extracted from endometrial tissue taken at day 10 of the oestrous cycle revealed two peaks that co-eluted with GRP(1-27) and GRP(18-27). However, during luteolysis and oestrus the major peak of GRP immunoreactivity extracted from endometrial tissue was larger than GRP(1-27) and similar to that seen previously in the gravid ovine endometrium. These studies demonstrate that a peptide similar to, but larger than, GRP is a major product of the glandular epithelium of the ovine uterus during the luteal regression phase of the oestrous cycle and post-blastocyst implantation in pregnancy and provide further evidence that GRP-related peptides have important regulatory roles in uterine function.