Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)

Changes in expression levels of Nod-like receptors in the spleen of ewes

Jiaxuan Wu; Shengya Fang; Pengfei Feng; Chunjiang Cai; Leying Zhang; Ling Yang

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Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain receptors (NOD-like receptors, NLRs) have critical effects on interfaces of the immune and reproductive systems, and the spleen plays a key role in both innate and adaptive immune functions. It is hypothesized that NLR family participates in maternal splenic immune regulation during early pregnancy in sheep. In this study, maternal spleens were collected on day 16 of the estrous cycle, and days 13, 16 and 25 of gestation (n = 6 for each group) in ewes. Expression of NLR family, including NOD1, NOD2, class II transactivator (CIITA), NLR family apoptosis inhibitory protein (NAIP), nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain, Leucine rich repeat and Pyrin domain containing 1 (NLRP1), NLRP3 and NLRP7, was analyzed using quantitative real-time PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis. The results revealed that expression levels of NOD1, NOD2, CIITA and NLRP3 were downregulated at days 13 and 16 of pregnancy, but expression of NLRP3 was increased at day 25 of pregnancy. In addition, expression values of NAIP and NLRP7 mRNA and proteins were improved at days 16 and 25 of pregnancy, and NLRP1 was peaked at days 13 and 16 of pregnancy in the maternal spleen. Furthermore, NOD2 and NLRP7 proteins were limited to the capsule, trabeculae and splenic cords. In summary, early pregnancy changes expression of NLR family in the maternal spleen, which may be related with the maternal splenic immunomodulation during early pregnancy in sheep.


Nod-like receptor, pregnancy, sheep, spleen


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