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Expression of nuclear progesterone receptor and progesterone receptor membrane components 1 and 2 in the oviduct of cyclic and pregnant cows during the post-ovulation period

Marie Saint-Dizier123*, Olivier Sandra12, Stéphane Ployart12, Martine Chebrout12 and Fabienne Constant12

Author Affiliations

1 INRA, UMR 1198 Biologie du Développement et Reproduction, F-78352, Jouy-en-Josas, France

2 Université Paris-Est, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, UMR 1198, 7 av. du Général-de-Gaulle, F-94704, Maisons-Alfort, France

3 AgroParisTech, UFR Génétique Elevage Reproduction, 16 rue Claude Bernard, F-75231, Paris CEDEX 05, France

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Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2012, 10:76  doi:10.1186/1477-7827-10-76

Published: 7 September 2012



Progesterone (P4) may modulate oviductal functions to promote early embryo development in cattle. In addition to its nuclear receptor (PR), P4 may mediate its actions through P4 receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) and its relative, PGRMC2. Two successive experiments were undertaken to characterise the expression of PR, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 in the bovine oviduct during the post-ovulation period, and to relate their expression to the presence of an embryo, the proximity of the CL and to the region of the oviduct.


In the first experiment (Exp. I), whole oviduct sections were collected from Holstein cows at Day 1.5, Day 4 and Day 5 post-ovulation (n = 2 cows per stage). The expression of PR, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 was studied in the ampulla and isthmus by RT-PCR, western-blot and immunohistochemistry. In Exp. II, oviduct epithelial cells were collected from cyclic and pregnant Charolais cows (n = 4 cows per status) at Day 3.5 post-ovulation and mRNA expression of PR, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 was examined in the ampulla and isthmus by real-time quantitative PCR.


In Exp. I, PR, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 were expressed in all oviduct samples. PGRMC1 was mainly localised in the luminal epithelium whereas PR and PGRMC2 were localised in the epithelium as well as in the muscle and stroma layers of the oviduct. The expression was primarily nuclear for PR, primarily cytoplasmic for PGRMC1 and both nuclear and cytoplasmic for PGRMC2. In Exp. II, mRNA levels for PR, PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 were not affected by either the pregnancy status or the side relative to the CL. However, the expression of PR and PGRMC2 varied significantly with the region of the oviduct: PR was more highly expressed in the isthmus whereas PGRMC2 was more highly expressed in the ampulla.


This is the first evidence of PGRMC2 expression in the bovine oviduct. Our findings suggest that P4 regulates the functions of the bovine oviduct in a region-specific manner and through both classical and non classical pathways during the post-ovulation period.

PR; PGRMC1; PGRMC2; Oviduct; Bovine; Expression