Gene expression profiling of the canine placenta during normal and antigestagen-induced luteolysis

Nowak M., Rehrauer H., Ay S. S., FINDIK M., Boos A., Kautz E., ...More

General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol.282, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 282
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2019.05.019
  • Journal Name: General and Comparative Endocrinology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: Dog, Parturition, Placenta, Pregnancy, Transcriptome
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: Yes


The domestic dog is the only domestic animal species that does not produce steroids in the placenta and instead relies on luteal steroids throughout pregnancy. Nevertheless, the canine placenta is highly responsive to steroids, and withdrawal of progesterone (P4) affects the feto-maternal unit, initializing the parturition cascade. Similar effects can be observed during antigestagen-induced abortion. Here, aiming to provide new insights into mechanisms involved in the termination of canine pregnancy, next generation sequencing (NGS, RNA-seq) was applied. Placental transcriptomes derived from natural prepartum and antigestagen-induced abortions were analyzed and compared with fully developed mid-gestation placentas. The contrast “prepartum luteolysis over mid-gestation” revealed 1973 differentially expressed genes (DEG). Terms associated with apoptosis, impairment of vascular function and activation of signaling of several cytokines (e.g., IL-8, IL-3, TGF-β) were overrepresented at natural luteolysis. When compared with mid-term, antigestagen treatment revealed 135 highly regulated DEG that were involved in the induced luteolysis and showed similar associations with functional terms and expression patterns as during natural luteolysis. The contrast “antigestagen-induced luteolysis over prepartum luteolysis” revealed that, although similar changes occur in both conditions, they are more pronounced during natural prepartum. Among P4-regulated DEG were those related to immune system and cortisol metabolism. It appears that, besides inducing placental PGF2α output, both natural and induced P4 withdrawal is associated with disruption of the feto-maternal interface, leading to impaired vascular functions, apoptosis and controlled modulation of the immune response. The time-related maturation of the feto-maternal interface needs to be considered because it may be clinically relevant.