In intact cyclic ewes intrauterine infusion of conceptus secretory proteins results in the suppression of both endometrial oxytocin receptor concentrations and oxytocin-induced prostaglandin F2α release. However, similar infusion in progesterone-treated ovariectomized ewes, while suppressing endometrial oxytocin receptors, does not fully inhibit oxytocin-induced prostaglandin F2α release. To examine whether this anomaly resulted from an inadequate simulation of the luteal phase in the ovariectomized ewe treated with progesterone alone, the effects of additional treatment with two other ovarian hormones, oestradiol-17β and oxytocin, was investigated. Rather than permitting conceptus secretory protein to successfully inhibit oxytocin-induced prostaglandin F2α release, treatment with oestradiol-17β in addition to progesterone actually resulted in an advancement in the timing of release. However, treatment with oxytocin, alone or in combination with oestradiol, permitted the full inhibition of oxytocin-induced prostaglandin F2α release. To confirm that this effect did not result from the action of oxytocin alone, independently of the action of conceptus secretory protein, a second experiment was undertaken using a similar protocol but without the infusion of conceptus secretory protein. In this situation, oxytocin-induced prostaglandin F2α release was only partially inhibited suggesting that both luteal oxytocin and conceptus secretory proteins are necessary to facilitate the full inhibition of luteolysis during early pregnancy in the ewe.
Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 150, 473–478