We have investigated the patterns of expression and cellular localization of polypeptides and mRNAs encoding IGF-I and IGF-II in intact bovine oviduct and two bovine oviductal primary cultures (monolayers and vesicles) which are utilized for supporting development in vitro. IGF-I and IGF-II polypeptides were localized by immunocytochemistry in intact oviduct and in both primary cultures for an 8-day culture interval, but IGF-II polypeptide displayed a more restricted distribution in day 8 monolayer cultures. IGF-I and IGF-II mRNAs were localized in both oviductal cell cultures as assessed by in situ hybridization. We were unable to detect IGF-I and IGF-II mRNAs in intact oviduct by in situ hybridization; however, transcripts encoding IGF-I and IGF-II mRNAs were detected in intact oviduct cell preparations and all primary culture samples by reverse transcription-PCR methods. The origin and phenotypic stability of these cultures was assessed by immunostaining with antibodies raised against vimentin (mesenchymal cell marker) and cytokeratin (epithelial cell marker). Over the culture period, the proportion of vimentin-immunoreactive cells increased in the monolayer cultures but remained at a low level in the vesicle cultures which were predominantly composed of cytokeratin-positive cells. The results suggest that oviductal cell co-culture may facilitate early mammalian development, in part, by the establishment of paracrine growth factor circuits.
Journal of Endocrinology (1996) 149, 41–53