Cystatin C (CST3) is a secreted inhibitor of lysosomal cysteine proteases cathepsins B (CTSB) and CTSL, which are abundant in the ovine endometrium and conceptus. In mice, cathepsins and cystatins play important roles in implantation and placentation. This study determined effects of the estrous cycle, pregnancy, progesterone (P4), and interferon-τ (IFNT) on CST3 in the ovine uterus. In cyclic ewes, CST3 mRNA was low on d 10, increased about 12-fold by d 12, and declined thereafter. In early pregnant ewes, CST3 mRNA was low on d 10 and increased about 130-fold from d 10 to d 20. CST3 mRNA and protein were abundant in the endometrial luminal epithelium (LE) and glandular epithelium and also in conceptus trophectoderm. In uterine flushes from pregnant ewes, CST3 protein was not detected on d 10 but was abundant on d 12, 14, and 16. In another study, treatment of ovariectomized, cyclic ewes with P4 induced a 14-fold increase in endometrial CST3 mRNA, and IFNT stimulated an additional 2-fold increase in CST3 mRNA in P4-treated ewes but not in ewes treated with P4 and the antiprogestin ZK 136,317. CST3 mRNA and protein were abundant in the endometrial luminal epithelium and superficial glandular epithelium of P4-treated ewes but were very low or not detectable in endometria of P4- and ZK-treated ewes. These results indicate that CST3 is a novel P4-induced and IFNT-stimulated gene expressed only in the epithelial cells of the ovine endometrium and implicate CST3 in regulation of uterine cathepsin activity during conceptus implantation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas