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Bcl-2/Bax protein and mRNA expression in yak (Bos grunniens) placentomes

Fan, JiangFeng, Yu, SiJiu, Cui, Yan, Xu, Gengquan, Wang, Libin, Pan, Yangyang, He, Honghong
Theriogenology 2017 v.104 pp. 23-29
Western blotting, apoptosis, cell differentiation, cell proliferation, chorion, developmental stages, gene expression, gestational age, humans, immunohistochemistry, messenger RNA, pregnancy, protein synthesis, proteins, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, staining, trophoblast, villi, yaks
Placental function is complex and influenced by various factors; furthermore, it depends on a delicate balance between cell proliferation, cell differentiation, and cell death. Bcl-2 and Bax proteins are key apoptosis regulators and are considered to play an important role in the maintenance of both dynamic balance and integrity of many tissues. Changes in Bcl-2 and Bax expressions have been described during different developmental stages in normal human placentas. Studies furthermore indicated several pathological placental changes to be related to abnormal Bcl-2 and Bax expressions. In the present study, we investigated both expression and distribution of Bcl-2 and Bax in yak placentas. For this, we collected placentas of 35 yaks at different stages of pregnancy as well as cotyledonary villi of four postpartum yaks. Protein and mRNA expressions of both Bcl-2 and Bax were investigated via immunohistochemistry, Western blot, and real-time PCR. Immunoreactive Bcl-2 protein was mainly localized near the fetal villous trophoblast at various gestational stages and post-partum. The Positive Index (PI) of Bcl-2 protein expression significantly decreased with increasing gestational age. Early during pregnancy (≤2 months), the Bax protein was widely distributed in the fetal villous trophoblast layer, the maternal caruncular crypt epithelium, and the stroma. Subsequently, the Bax protein distribution gradually concentrated in the fetal villous trophoblast layer. The staining intensity of Bax increased from the 3rd month to the prepartum of gestation. The PI reached a minimum of 9.4 ± 2.2 in fetal chorionic villi (FCV) and 1.3 ± 0.8 in maternal caruncular crypts (MCC) of the three months group. Both Bcl-2 and Bax had maximum immunoreactivity in the fetal villous trophoblast layer of placentas collected form postpartum yaks (with PIs of 36.6 ± 5.7 and 38.2 ± 4.8, respectively). Protein and mRNA expression of Bcl-2 and Bax investigated via Western blot and real-time PCR demonstrated similar expression profiles than immunohistochemistry. These results demonstrated the dynamic expression of Bcl-2 and Bax during pregnancy and postpartum in yak placentas. The temporal and spatial expression patterns indicate that Bcl-2 and Bax may participate in physiological processes of the placenta, such as formation, maturation, and antepartum degeneration that are critical for fetal and placental development in yak.