Expression profiling of vitamin D receptor in placenta, decidua and ovary of pregnant mice
Objectives: The presence of vitamin D receptor (VDR) and the identification of localized vitamin D3 synthesis in placenta and decidua implicate the importance of vitamin 03 in reproductive function. There is, however, no data on the expression profile of VDR in the mouse placenta and endometrium throughout the pregnancy period. Study design: In the present work expression of VDR in reproductive tissues of pregnant mice at different gestational phases has been addressed. Expression of VDR was determined by semi-quantitative RT-PCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Results: The results showed that VDR mRNA and protein were expressed in decidua, placenta and ovary throughout the pregnancy. VDR gene expression in placenta was significantly elevated in late pregnancy when compared to that of mid pregnancy. Additionally, VDR expression level in decidua rose significantly as pregnancy progressed from early to mid stages. VDR expression in decidua of pregnant mice was higher in comparison to endometrium of non-pregnant mice. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that VDR protein is consistently expressed by luminal and glandular epithelial cells of decidua, giant cells, glycogen rich cells and labyrinth cells of placenta and by almost all follicular cell types of ovary. Surveying the expression of VDR at the protein level by Western blotting confirmed PCR results. Conclusion: It seems that expression of VDR in reproductive organs is finely tuned during pregnancy indicating its eminent role in reproductive biology. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.