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Chiumia, Daniel; Schulke, Katy; Groebner, Anna E.; Waldschmitt, Nadine; Reichenbach, Horst-Dieter; Zakhartchenko, Valeri; Bauersachs, Stefan and Ulbrich, Susanne E. (2020): Initiation of Conceptus Elongation Coincides with an Endometrium Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF2) Protein Increase in Heifers. In: International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol. 21, No. 5, 1584

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Fibroblast growth factors (FGF) play an important role during embryo development. To date, the role of FGF and the respective receptors (FGFR) during the preimplantation phase in cattle are not fully characterized. We examined FGF1, FGF2, FGFR1, FGFR2, and FGFR3 in cyclic and early pregnant heifers at Days 12, 15, and 18 after insemination (Day 0). Endometrial FGF1 mRNA transcript abundance in heifers varied significantly with respect to the day after insemination, the pregnancy status, and their interaction. The expression was higher in nonpregnant than in pregnant heifers at Day 18. The conceptus transcripts abundance of FGFR2 and FGFR3 were significantly lower at Day 15 than 18. In the endometrium, FGF1 protein abundance significantly decreased from Day 12 onwards and FGF2 protein abundance showed a minor, but a significant increase at Day 15 in comparison to Days 12 and 18. We concluded that the decrease in FGF1 mRNA expression in pregnant heifers at Day 18 points towards a potential contribution of FGF1 in the preimplantation process. Additionally, successful embryo elongation might require a spatiotemporal FGF2 protein increase in the endometrium.

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