Regulation of the hyaluronan system in ovine endometrium by ovarian steroids

Kabir A Raheem, Waleed F Marei, Karen R. Mifsud, Muhammad Khalid, D Claire Wathes, Ali A Fouladi-Nashta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we investigated steroid regulation of the hyaluronan (HA) system in ovine endometrium including HA synthases (HAS), hyaluronidases, and HA receptor-CD44 using 30 adult Welsh Mountain ewes. Eight ewes were kept intact and synchronized to estrous (day 0). Intact ewes were killed on day 9 (luteal phase; LUT; n=5) and day 16 (follicular phase; FOL; n=3). The remaining ewes (n=22) were ovariectomized and then treated (i.m.) with vehicle (n=6) or progesterone (n=8) for 10 days, or estrogen and progesterone for 3 days followed by 7 days of progesterone alone (n=8). Estradiol and progesterone concentrations in plasma correlated with the stage of estrous or steroid treatment. Our results showed trends (P<0.1) and statistically significant effects (P<0.05, by t-test) indicating that LUT had lower HAS1 and HAS2 and higher HAS3 and CD44 mRNA expression compared with FOL. This was reflected in immunostaining of the corresponding HAS proteins. Similarly, in ovariectomized ewes, progesterone decreased HAS1 and HAS2 and increased HAS3 and CD44, whereas estradiol tended to increase HAS2 and decrease CD44. Sometimes, HAS mRNA expression did not follow the same trend observed in the intact animals or the protein expression. HA and its associated genes and receptors were regulated by the steroids. In conclusion, these results show that the level of HA production and the molecular weight of HA in the endometrium are regulated by ovarian steroids through differential expression of different HAS both at the gene and at the protein levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-504
Number of pages14
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • Animals
  • Animals, Inbred Strains
  • Antigens, CD44
  • Endometrium
  • Estradiol
  • Estrous Cycle
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Hyaluronoglucosaminidase
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Isoenzymes
  • Molecular Weight
  • Ovariectomy
  • Ovary
  • Progesterone
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sheep, Domestic


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