Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Early pregnancy affects expression of Toll-like receptor signaling members in ovine spleen

Leying Zhang; Gengxin Yang; Qiongao Zhang; Pengfei Feng; Meihong Gao; Ling Yang

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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are involved to the maternal immune tolerance. The spleen is essential for adaptive immune reactions. However, it is unclear that early pregnancy regulates TLR-mediated signalings in the maternal spleen. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of early pregnancy on expression of TLR signaling members in the ovine spleen. Ovine spleens were collected at day 16 of the estrous cycle, and at days 13, 16 and 25 of pregnancy (n = 6 for each group). Real-time quantitative PCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis were used to detect TLR signaling members, including TLR2, TLR3, TLR4, TLR5, TLR7, TLR9, myeloid differentiation primary-response protein 88 (MyD88), tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and interleukin-1-receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK1). The results showed that expression levels of TLR2, TLR4 and IRAK1 were downregulated, but expression levels of TLR3, TLR5, TLR7, TLR9, TRAF6 and MyD88 were increased during early pregnancy. In addition, MyD88 protein was located in the capsule, trabeculae and splenic cords of the maternal spleen. This paper reports for the first time that early pregnancy has effects on TLR signaling pathways in the ovine spleen, which is beneficial for understanding the maternal immune tolerance during early pregnancy.


toll-like receptors, pregnancy, spleen, sheep


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