2014 Volume 60 Issue 6 Pages 468-475
The forkhead box a (Foxa) protein family has been found to play important roles in mammals. Recently, the expression of Foxa2 was reported in the mouse uterus, and it was reported to be involved in regulation of implantation. However, the regulation of Foxa2 expression in the uterus is still poorly understood. Therefore, the present study was conducted to investigate the expressional profiles of Foxa2 in the rat uterus during the estrus cycle and pregnancy. Furthermore, the effect of steroid hormones and Hedgehog protein on the expression of Foxa2 was analyzed in vivo and in vitro. In this study, the level of expression of Foxa2 was low in the rat uterus during the different stages of the estrus cycle. However, the expression increased transiently during early pregnancy at 3.5 days post coitus (dpc) and decreased at 5.5 dpc. In ovariectomized rats, P4 treatment had no effect on the expression of Foxa2 compared with the expression in control animals. Moreover, the expression of Foxa2 in cultured epithelial cells was not increased by P4 treatment in vitro. However, Foxa2 expression was significantly decreased in the rat uterus after 24 h of E2 treatment. Treatment of cells with a recombinant Hedgehog protein significantly increased the expression of Foxa2. These results suggest that the expression of Foxa2 may transiently increase just before the implantation and it may be regulated by E2 and Hedgehog protein.