Regulation of conceptus adhesion by endometrial CXC chemokines during the implantation period in sheep

Kazuhiko Imakawa, Misa Imai, Akiharu Sakai, Masako Suzuki, Kentaro Nagaoka, Senkiti Sakai, Sang Rae Lee, Kyu Tae Chang, Sherrill E. Echternkamp, Ronald K. Christenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


To gain a better understanding of biochemical mechanisms of conceptus adhesion to the maternal endometrium in ruminant ungulates, the present study was performed to clarify roles of chemokines and extracellular matrix (ECM) components in the regulation of ovine blastocyst attachment to the endometrium. In addition to the chemokine, interferon-γ inducible protein 10 kDa (IP-10, CXCL10), the chemokine receptor, CXCR3, also recognizes two other chemokines; monokine induced by IFN-γ (MIG, CXCL9) and IFN-inducible T cell α chemoattractant (I-TAC, CXCL11). Similar to CXCL10, CXCL9, and CXCL11 were expressed in the uterus during the peri-implantation period, and CXCL9 mRNA expression was stimulated in endometrial explants from day 14 cyclic ewes by the addition of IFN-τ or IFN-γ. Without ECM components, conceptus cell adhesion was low on day 14 of gestation and exhibited a 2.5-fold increase on day 17; adhesiveness on day 20 was 1/10 of that on day 14. Among various ECM components examined, trophoblast adhesion was greatest when fibronectin was used. Although day 14 conceptuses did not show much adhesive activity to fibronectin, day 17 trophoblast, and day 20 chorionic membrane exhibited 2.3-fold and 50-fold increase, respectively, which was enhanced by treatment with CXCL9 or CXCL10. These results indicate that through endometrial fibronectin and chemokines, ovine conceptus cells gain the ability to attach to the endometrium during pre-implantation period; however, elucidation of molecular mechanisms by which the conceptus acquires the adhesive ability during this time period awaits further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-858
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion
  • CXC Chemokines
  • CXCL10
  • CXCL11
  • CXCL9
  • Ovine
  • Trophoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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