Involvement of interferon-tau in the induction of apoptotic, pyroptotic, and autophagic cell death-related signaling pathways in the bovine uterine endometrium during early pregnancy

Toshiyuki Suzuki, Ryosuke Sakumoto, Ken Go Hayashi, Takatoshi Ogiso, Hiroki Kunii, Takahiro Shirozu, Sung Woo Kim, Hanako Bai, Manabu Kawahara, Koji Kimura, Masashi Takahashi

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Interferon-tau (IFNT), a type I interferon (IFN), is known as pregnancy recognition signaling molecule secreted from the ruminant conceptus during the preimplantation period. Type I IFNs, such as IFN-alpha and IFN-beta, are known to activate cell-death pathways as well as induce apoptosis. In cows, induction of apoptosis with DNA fragmentation is induced by IFNT in cultured bovine endometrial epithelial cells. However, the status of cell-death pathways in the bovine endometrium during the preimplantation period still remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the different cell-death pathways, including apoptosis, pyroptosis, and autophagy, in uterine tissue obtained from pregnant cows and in vitro cultured endometrial epithelial cells with IFNT stimulation. The expression of CASP7, 8, and FADD (apoptosis-related genes) was significantly higher in pregnant day 18 uterine tissue in comparison to non-pregnant day 18 tissue. The expression of CASP4, 11, and NLRP3 (pyroptosis-related genes) was significantly higher in the pregnant uterus in comparison to non-pregnant uterus. In contrast, autophagy-related genes were not affected by pregnancy. We also investigated the effect of IFNT on the expression of cell-death pathway-related genes, as well as DNA fragmentation in cultured endometrial epithelial cells. Similar to its effects in pregnant uterine tissue, IFNT affected the increase of apoptosis-related (CASP8) and pyroptosis-related genes (CASP11), but did not affect autophagy-related gene expression. IFNT also increased γH2AX-positive cells, which is a marker of DNA fragmentation. These results suggest that apoptosis- and pyroptosis-related genes are induced by IFNT in the pregnant bovine endometrial epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of reproduction and development
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 2018



  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Interferon-tau
  • Pregnant bovine uterus
  • Pyroptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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