Expression and localization of vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors in pig corpora lutea during the oestrous cycle
Expression and localization of mRNAs for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor 1 (Flt) and VEGF receptor 2 (KDR) (VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2, respectively) were investigated in pig corpora lutea. Northern blot analysis of total RNA indicated hybridization of pig VEGF, VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 cDNA probes to mRNA transcripts of approximately 3.9, 7.0 and 5.0 kb, respectively. The expression of mRNAs for VEGF and its receptors during the luteal phase (days 4, 7, 10, 13 and 15 after the
... nd 15 after the onset of oestrus) were assessed by northern blot analysis, and hybridization signals were normalized to expression of pig 18S rRNA. Relative hybridization signals of expression of VEGF mRNA appeared to be constant; however, expression of VEGFR-1 mRNA was low on day 4, increased on day 7, and was higher on days 10, 13 and 15 (P < 0.05, compared with day 4). In contrast, no changes in expression of mRNA for VEGFR-2 were evident on days 4-13, but a decrease was detected (P < 0.05) at day 15. In situ hybridization revealed that VEGF mRNA was localized predominantly in large luteal cells, whereas both VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 were localized to small cells. These data indicate that the VEGF system may be involved in the regulation of luteal vasculature throughout the lifespan of the corpus luteum. Although the expression of VEGF mRNA was unchanged during the luteal phase, variations in the expression of VEGFR-1 and VEGFR-2 mRNAs indicate that differential regulation of expression of the VEGF receptors may play a role in the control of VEGF-mediated vascular growth at different phases of development and maturation of the pig corpus luteum.