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Lucia Gajdosechova, Katarina Krskova, Ana Belen Segarra, Andrea Spolcova, Maciej Suski, Rafal Olszanecki and Stefan Zorad

, glucose transporter 1; Il10 , interleukin 10; Oxtr , oxytocin receptor; Syt4 , synaptotagmin 4; Tnfa , tumour necrosis factor alpha. We observed a 40% reduction of plasma oxytocin levels ( Fig. 1 ) in obese Zucker rats when compared with their lean

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C. Sernia, R. T. Gemmell and W. G. Thomas


There is inconclusive evidence that oxytocin acts directly on the corpus luteum and affects steroidogenesis. Since any such action would probably be mediated by oxytocin receptors, these should be present in luteal tissue. In this study, homogenates of corpora lutea from both pregnant and non-pregnant ewes were examined for oxytocin receptors by radio-receptor assay. Specific oxytocin binding was not observed in luteal tissue during the oestrous cycle. However specific binding was found in the corpora lutea of pregnant ewes; appearing at a fetal head length of approximately 0·65 cm (about 30 days of pregnancy) and persisting to a head size of 11 cm, the largest size examined in this study. The affinity (K d) of the receptor was calculated as 2·9 ± 0·3 nmol/l (s.e.m.; n = 9), a value similar to that obtained for the uterus. The receptor number ranged from a low of 8·7± 3·2 fmol/mg protein (n = 6) at a head size of <0·65 cm, to a maximum of 40·1 ± 6·5 fmol/mg protein (n = 25) at a head size of 2·5–3·75 cm. These values were lower than our estimate of 588 ± 39 fmol/mg protein (n = 5) for the uterus. It is concluded that a direct action of oxytocin on the corpus luteum is possible but only after the first month of pregnancy and not in the corpus luteum of the oestrous cycle.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 121, 117–123

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X H Zhang, S Filippi, L Vignozzi, A Morelli, R Mancina, M Luconi, S Donati, M Marini, G B Vannelli, G Forti and M Maggi

oxytocin receptor (OTR) gene and protein in rabbit and human cavernous tissue in a similar concentration to that found in other portions of the male genital tract ( Vignozzi et al. 2004 ), classically considered the main male target of oxytocin (OT), such

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S Phaneuf, G Asbóth, M P Carrasco, G N Europe-Finner, F Saji, T Kimura, A Harris and A López Bernal


We have recently provided evidence for the desensitization of oxytocin receptors in human myometrial cells. In the present study, we have investigated the possible mechanisms by which oxytocin (OT) might regulate OT receptor density. The steady state level of OT binding in cultured myometrial cells was 220 × 103 binding sites/cell, but this was time-dependently reduced to 27 × 103 sites/cell by exposure to OT for up to 20 h. Similarly, OT exposure decreased the binding of OT to cell membranes. In contrast, Western blotting data showed that the total amount of OT receptor protein was not affected by OT treatment for up to 48 h. Flow cytometry experiments demonstrated that OT receptors are not internalized during prolonged exposure of the cells to OT. However, RNase protection assays and Northern analysis showed that OT receptor mRNA was reduced by OT treatment to reach a new low steady state level with a time course similar to that of the disappearance of cell surface OT binding sites. Possible mechanisms involved in mRNA down-regulation include transcriptional suppression and destabilization of mRNA by RNA binding proteins.

Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 154, 7–18

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E. L. Sheldrick and A. P. F. Flint


Specific binding of [3H]oxytocin to high affinity sites (hormone receptors) in membrane preparations from uterine tissues of the ewe has been determined at varying stages of the oestrous cycle and in pregnancy. Mean receptor concentrations in caruncular and inter-caruncular endometrium and in myometrium were 14·2, 1·9 and 13·0 fmol/mg protein respectively between days 10 and 13 of the cycle. By the day of oestrus these values had increased to 749, 1085 and 179 fmol/mg protein. These increases in receptor concentrations coincided with luteolysis and falling plasma progesterone levels and followed the preovulatory decline in peripheral oxytocin and rise in ovarian venous oestradiol-17β. Receptor concentrations were low in all uterine tissues from pregnant animals between days 14 and 19 after oestrus. Analysis of binding parameters by Scatchard plot suggested a single population of receptor molecules in each of the tissues studied with apparent dissociation constants in the range 1·9–2·2 nmol/l. A number of naturally occurring neurohypophysial peptides inhibited binding of [3H]oxytocin to the receptor from ewes at oestrus; the cross-reactions of arginine vasopressin and vasotocin exceeded that of oxytocin.

Use of a receptor binding assay to measure oxytocin in extracts of corpora lutea on days 4 and 10 after oestrus gave values similar to those obtained by radioimmunoassay, suggesting the absence of other receptor-active peptides in the corpus luteum.

It is concluded that the oxytocin receptor is present in both components of the endometrium, as well as in the myometrium and that changes in uterine receptor concentrations before oestrus are consistent with receptor activation by steroid hormones.

J. Endocr. (1985) 106, 249–258

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V. J. Ayad, E. L. Matthews, D. C. Wathes, T. J. Parkinson and M. L. Wild


The present study was designed to determine the localization of the endometrial oxytocin receptor during the ovine oestrous cycle, particularly on day 14, the time of initiation of luteal regression in the ewe. Samples were obtained from 29 ewes at different stages of the oestrous cycle (several during the luteal phase and on every day between day 14 (− 2) and day + 3 of the oestrous period).

Oxytocin receptors were localized autoradiographically in sections of uterine tissue, using the 125I-labelled oxytocin receptor antagonist [1-(β-mercapto-β,β-cyclopentamethylene propionic acid), 2-(ortho-methyl)-Tyr2,Thr4,Orn8,Tyr9-NH2]-vasotocin (125I-labelled OTA). There was some variation in the pattern of 125I-labelled OTA labelling between different uterine tissue samples from the same ewe and also between samples obtained from different ewes thought to be at the same stage of the oestrous cycle. A clear overall pattern did, however, emerge with 125I-labelled OTA-binding sites distributed between luminal epithelial cells, glandular epithelial cells and caruncular stromal cells to varying extents on different days of the cycle.

During the luteal phase (days 5–12) clear specific labelling of endometrial tissue was generally absent. On day 14 labelling was evident on the luminal epithelium, but only in nine tissue samples out of a total of 18 studied, indicating that the entire luminal surface did not contain oxytocin receptors at this time. Between the day before oestrus and day 3 of the oestrous cycle the luminal epithelium was consistently labelled. The most extensive labelling of the remaining endometrial tissue was observed on the day of oestrus, with 125I-labelled OTA-binding sites clearly present on the stromal cells within caruncles and on a large proportion of secretory epithelia. This contrasted with the day before and the day after oestrus when labelling of glandular tissue was confined to the superficial endometrium, and labelling of caruncular stromal cells, although sometimes evident, was never as intense as on day 0. On days 2 and 3 labelling varied between being similar to that found on day 1 and being confined to the luminal epithelium and very few superficial secretory glands.

The results of this study lead us to conclude that the oxytocin receptor shows a differential distribution between stromal cells, epithelial cells lining secretory glands and luminal epithelial cells during the oestrous cycle; that the steroidal regulation of the oxytocin receptor differs between endometrial cell types; and that control of the luminal epithelial oxytocin receptors is probably of particular importance to the regulation of prostaglandin F release at luteal regression and during the maternal recognition of pregnancy.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 130, 199–206

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V. J. Ayad and D. C. Wathes


Oxytocin-binding sites in the endometrium and myometrium of the non-pregnant ewe were characterized. [3H]Oxytocin bound to a single site in both tissues with high affinity; dissociation constants were determined to be 1·96 nmol/l in endometrium and 2·12 nmol/l in myometrium. Oxytocin binding was enhanced by divalent cations with a similar order of potency in both tissues: Co2+> Mn2+> Ni2+> Mg2+ > Zn2+> Ca2+. The endometrial and myometrial binding sites showed the same specificity for oxytocin analogues and related peptides, having high affinity for oxytocin, [Arg8]-vasopressin, [Lys8]-vasopressin, and the oxytocin-specific agonists [Gly7]-oxytocin and [Thr4,Gly7]-oxytocin. The results suggest that oxytocin receptors present in the endometrium and myometrium of the ewe are similar both to each other and to classical oxytocin receptors.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 123, 11–18

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V. J. Ayad, S. A. McGoff and D. C. Wathes


The presence of oxytocin receptors in ovine oviduct has been investigated. High-affinity binding sites for [3H]oxytocin were detected in crude membrane fractions prepared from the oviducts of ewes killed during the oestrous period. The dissociation constant calculated for these sites in competition studies was 1·7 nmol/l. Similar dissociation constants were calculated for [Arg8]-vasopressin and the oxytocin-specific agonists [Gly7]-oxytocin and [Thr4, Gly7]-oxytocin, indicating that these sites represent oxytocin receptors. At least one additional site of lower affinity and undetermined identity was present.

The relative concentration of oxytocin-binding sites in preparations of oviduct membranes were estimated in ewes killed at different stages of the oestrous cycle using a single concentration of [3H]oxytocin. Binding was low during the luteal phase of the cycle but increased to a maximum at oestrus (77·7 fmol/mg protein). Binding fell after ovulation, reaching what appeared to be basal concentrations by the early luteal stage of the cycle. Binding to oviductal membranes from prepubertal, anoestrous and pregnant ewes was also low, but in anoestrous animals which had been treated with progesterone and oestrogen it was similar to values measured in ewes at oestrus. These results are consistent with the existence of oviductal oxytocin receptors which are regulated by ovarian steroids.

We conclude that oxytocin receptors are present in the oviduct of the ewe around the time of ovulation. The significance of oxytocin to events taking place in the oviduct at this time remains to be determined.

Journal of Endocrinology (1990) 124, 353–359

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S. E. Chadio and F. A. Antoni


Oxytocin may function as a hypothalamic releasing hormone for prolactin and ACTH secretion in the rat. In the present study we have investigated the properties of putative oxytocin receptors in the rat adenohypophysis by radioligand-binding assay.

A novel oxytocin receptor antagonist [1-(β-mercapto-β,β-cyclopentamethylene propionic acid),2-(ortho-methyl)-Tyr2-Thr4-Orn8-Tyr9-NH2]-vasotocin (OTA) was radioiodinated by the iodogen method to a specific activity of 0·6 nCi/fmol. The radioiodinated derivative 125I-labelled OTA (125I-OTA) was reacted with membrane suspensions prepared from the uterus or adenohypophysis of female rats which were (a) ovariectomized for 7 days, (b) ovariectomized and treated with 5 μg oestradiol-17β 48 h before death or (c) implanted with a piece of silicone elastomer tubing containing 50 mg diethylstilboestrol (DES) 5 days before death. In uterine as well as the pituitary membrane suspensions, the radioligand was bound reversibly and with high affinity (dissociation constants 0·2 ± 0·1 and 0·1±0·01 nmol/l respectively; means + s.e.m., n=3) to a single class of sites with limited binding capacity, which varied with the type of pretreatment. Oestradiol-17β increased the binding capacity fivefold in the uterus in ovariectomized rats, but only very low specific radioligand binding was found in pituitary preparations from the same animals. Treatment with DES markedly increased the number of receptors in both the uterus and the adenohypophysis. Studies with several agonist and antagonist analogues revealed no difference in the ligand specificity of the uterine and adenohypophysial sites binding 125I-OTA, indicating that they are the same species of receptor. Furthermore, ligand-binding studies, carried out with tritiated vasopressin as tracer in pituitary membrane preparations, showed that OTA is not bound by pituitary vasopressin receptors at concentrations below 1 μmol/l.

In summary, 125I-OTA is a highly specific radioligand suitable for the analysis of pituitary oxytocin receptors. The low number of oxytocin receptors in the adenohypophysis of rats treated with oestradiol-17β suggests that the prolactin-stimulating action of oxytocin is mediated by highly efficient transmembrane signalling.

Journal of Endocrinology (1989) 122, 465–470

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J. M. Wallace, P. J. Morgan, R. Helliwell, R. P. Aitken, M. Cheyne and L. M. Williams


The induction of ovulation in early post-partum ewes is associated with a high incidence of premature luteal regression which is independent of the suckling stimulus but dependent on the stage post partum. The aim of the present study was to determine whether oxytocin receptors are present on uterine endometrium early in the luteal phase and hence ascertain whether oxytocin-induced uterine prostaglandin F release is a possible mechanism involved in the premature regression of these post-partum corpora lutea. Ovarian and uterine tissues were collected on day 4 of the cycle in ewes induced to ovulate at either 21 or 35 days post partum (n = 4 per group). A further four cyclic ewes were similarly synchronized to ovulate and acted as controls. Corpora lutea from the 21-day post-partum group were significantly (P < 0·01) smaller, had a lower progesterone content and a reduced capacity to secrete progesterone in vitro than corpora lutea from 35-day post-partum or control ewes.

A highly specific oxytocin receptor ligand 125I-labelled d(CH2)5[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4,Tyr-NH2 9]-vasotocin was used to localize and characterize high affinity oxytocin receptors in uterine endometrium (dissociation constant 145 pmol/l). Oxytocin receptor concentrations in endometrium from ewes induced to ovulate at 21 days post partum were on average five-fold higher (P < 0·05) than in 35-day post-partum and control groups.

Journal of Endocrinology (1991) 128, 253–260