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Keywords:

  • Fibronectin;
  • Uterus;
  • Implantation;
  • Gene regulation;
  • Alternative splicing

Abstract

Fibronectin mRNA and protein content were examined during embryonic implantation in the rat uterus. Content of total fibronectin mRNA at day 6 of pregnancy increased relative to the non-pregnant uterus. In contrast, fibronectin protein content of the subepithelial stroma was relatively decreased except in the region directly surrounding the lumen, and this fibronectin immunoreactivity was sensitive to hyaluronidase treatment. These changes are likely to reflect the degradation and subsequent remodeling of the previously stable uterine extracellular matrix in preparation for embryonic implantation. A+,B-,V+ fibronectin mRNAs were present in both the non-pregnant and day 6 pregnant uterus with increased content of A+ and V+ fibronectin mRNAs in the latter. A+ fibronectin mRNA was distributed throughout the endometrial stroma of the non-pregnant uterus and content of the subepithelial stroma increased by day 4 of pregnancy, coincident with progesterone action on the endometrium. On day 6 of pregnancy, fibronectin mRNAs encoding the V95 and A regions were preferentially localized to the mesometrial zone of the subepithelial stroma. Accumulation of these mRNA splicing variants at the mesometrial zone was dependent upon decidualization, but the embryo was not required. Thus, there are two major changes in uterine fibronectin gene expression as a result of pregnancy: increased fibronectin mRNA content and mesometrial localization. These changes suggest a key function for fibronectin in implantation and imply the operation of a regulatory program of fibronectin gene expression which depends on hormonal sensitization and a nidatory stimulus. © 1992 Wiley-liss, Inc.