Semen Modulates Cell Proliferation and Differentiation-Related Transcripts in the Pig Peri-Ovulatory Endometrium

Jaume Gardela, Mateo Ruiz-Conca, Dominic Wright, Manel López-Béjar, Cristina A. Martínez, Heriberto Rodríguez-Martínez*, Manuel Álvarez-Rodríguez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Uterine homeostasis is maintained after mating by eliminating pathogens, foreign cells, and proteins by a transient inflammation of the uterus. Such inflammation does not occur in the oviductal sperm reservoir (utero-tubal junction, UTJ), colonized by a population of potentially fertile spermatozoa before the inflammatory changes are triggered. Semen entry (spermatozoa and/or seminal plasma) modifies the expression of regulatory genes, including cell proliferation and differentiation-related transcripts. Considering pigs display a fractionated ejaculation, this study aims to determine whether different ejaculate fractions differentially modulate cell proliferation and differentiation-related transcripts in the sow reproductive tract during the peri-ovulatory stage. Using species-specific microarray analyses, the differential expression of 144 cell proliferation and differentiation-related transcripts was studied in specific segments: cervix (Cvx), distal and proximal uterus (DistUt, ProxUt), UTJ, isthmus (Isth), ampulla (Amp), and infundibulum (Inf) of the peri-ovulatory sow reproductive tract in response to semen and/or seminal plasma cervical deposition. Most mRNA expression changes were induced by mating. In addition, while mating upregulates the fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1, p-value DistUt = 0.0007; ProxUt = 0.0253) transcript in the endometrium, both its receptor, the fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1, p-value DistUt = 2.14 e−06; ProxUt = 0.0027; UTJ = 0.0458) transcript, and a potentiator of its biological effect, the fibroblast growth factor binding protein 1 (FGFBP1), were downregulated in the endometrium (p-value DistUt = 0.0068; ProxUt = 0.0011) and the UTJ (p-value UTJ = 0.0191). The FGFBP1 was downregulated in the whole oviduct after seminal depositions (p-value Isth = 0.0007; Amp = 0.0007; Inf = 6.87 e−05) and, interestingly, FGFR1 was downregulated in the endometrium in the absence of semen (p-value DistUt = 0.0097; ProxUt = 0.0456). In conclusion, the findings suggest that spermatozoa, seminal components, and the act of mating trigger, besides inflammation, differential mechanisms in the peri-ovulatory female reproductive tract, relevant for tissue repair.

Original languageEnglish
Article number616
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • cell differentiation
  • cell proliferation
  • chemokines
  • fibroblast growth factors
  • inflammation
  • insulin-like growth factors
  • interleukins
  • pig


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