Cathepsins (CTSs) are peptidases that have biological roles in degrading extracellular matrix, catabolism of intracellular proteins, and processing of pro-hormones. Cystatin C (CST3) is a secreted inhibitor of lysosomal cysteine proteases cathepsin B (CTSB) and CTSL. Our working hypothesis is that cathepsins and cystatins play important roles in implantation and placentation in sheep. Expression of CTSB, CTSD, CTSH, CTSK, CTSL, CTSS, CTSZ, and CST3 mRNAs was detected in ovine uteroplacental tissues with distinct temporal and/or spatial expression patterns between Days 40 and 120 of pregnancy. Of particular note, CTSB, CTSD, and CTSZ mRNAs were predominantly detected in the chorion of the placenta and were more abundant in the placentomes than the intercaruncular endometria. CTSL and CST3 mRNAs were abundant in the endometrial epithelia and chorion, whereas CTSK, CTSS and CTSH mRNAs were most abundant in the stratum compactum stroma of the intercaruncular endometrium. Consistent with localisation of mRNAs, immunoreactive CTSL and CST3 proteins were mainly observed in the intercaruncular endometrial glands and intercotyledonary placenta during later pregnancy. These results support the working hypothesis that CTS and CST3 in uteroplacental tissues are involved in endometrial remodelling and placentation in sheep.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology