Get access

Immunohistochemical Localization of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and its Two Receptors (Flt-I and KDR) in the Endometrium and Placenta of the Mare During the Oestrous Cycle and Pregnancy


Author's address (for correspondence): WR Allen, Department of Veterinary Medicine Equine Fertility Unit, University of Cambridge, Mertoun Paddocks, Woodditton Road, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9BH, UK. E-mail:


Polyclonal antisera for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its two main receptor molecules, VEGF-I (Flt) and VEGF-II (KDR), were used in a conventional immunocytochemical staining method to localize these angiogenic ligand molecules in the endometrium and placenta of the mare during the oestrous cycle and pregnancy. The anti-VEGF and anti-Flt sera both labelled the lumenal and glandular epithelia of the endometrium throughout the oestrous cycle and both the invasive trophoblast cells of the endometrial cups and the non-invasive trophoblast of the allantochorion in pregnancy. The anti-KDR serum likewise stained the maternal and foetal epithelial layers during the oestrous cycle and pregnancy and it also labelled fibroblast-like cells in the endometrial and allantoic stromas and the endothelium of foetal and maternal capillaries. The results demonstrated that constant supplies of the principal vasculogenic and angiogenic factor, VEGF, and its two major receptors, Flt and KDR, are available on both the maternal and foetal sides of the placental barrier throughout gestation in the mare. They are presumed to facilitate the continuing development of the extensive foetal and maternal capillary networks that are such prominent features within the microplacentomes of the diffuse, epitheliochorial equine placenta.