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Development and Function of Uterine Glands in Domestic Animals

Authors
  • Spencer, Thomas E.
  • Kelleher, Andrew M.
  • Bartol, Frank F.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Annual Review of Animal Biosciences
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Feb 15, 2019
Volume
7
Pages
125–147
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-animal-020518-115321
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

All mammalian uteri contain glands that synthesize or transport and secrete substances into the uterine lumen. Uterine gland development, or adenogenesis, is uniquely a postnatal event in sheep and pigs and involves differentiation of glandular epithelium from luminal epithelium, followed by invagination and coiling morphogenesis throughout the stroma. Intrinsic transcription factors and extrinsic factors from the ovary and pituitary as well as the mammary gland (lactocrine) regulate uterine adenogenesis. Recurrent pregnancy loss is observed in the ovine uterine gland knockout sheep, providing unequivocal evidence that glands and their products are essential for fertility. Uterine gland hyperplasia and hypertrophy during pregnancy are controlled by sequential actions of hormones from the ovary and/or pituitary as well as the placenta. Gland-derived histotroph is transported by placental areolae for fetal growth. Increased knowledge of uterine gland biology is expected to improve pregnancy outcomes, as well as the health and productivity of mothers and their offspring.

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