Novel mineral regulatory pathways in ovine pregnancy: II. Calcium-binding proteins, calcium transporters, and Vitamin D signaling

Claire Stenhouse, Katherine M. Halloran, Makenzie G. Newton, Dana Gaddy, Larry J. Suva, Fuller W. Bazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Mineralization of the fetal mammalian skeleton requires a hypercalcemic gradient across the placenta from mother to fetus. However, the mechanisms responsible for maintaining the placental transport of calcium remain poorly understood. This study aimed to identify calcium and vitamin D regulatory pathway components in ovine endometria and placentae across gestation. Suffolk ewes were bred with fertile rams upon detection of estrus (Day 0). On Days 9, 12, 17, 30, 70, 90, 110, and 125 of pregnancy (n=3–14/Day), ewes were euthanized and hysterectomized. Calcium abundance was influenced by gestational day in uterine flushings and allantoic fluid (P<0.05). The expression of S100G, S100A9, S100A12, ATP2B3, ATP2B4, TRPV5, TRPV6, CYP11A1, CYP2R1, CYP24, and VDR mRNAs known to be involved in calcium binding, calcium transport, and vitamin D metabolism were quantified by qPCR. Mediators of calcium and vitamin D signaling were expressed by Day 17 conceptus tissue, and endometria and placentae across gestation. Gestational day influenced the expression of S100G, S100A9, S100A12, TRPV6, VDR, and CYP24 mRNAs in endometria and placentae (P<0.05). Gestational day influenced endometrial expression of ATP2B3, and placental expression of TRPV5, ATP2B4, and CYP11A1 (P<0.05). VDR protein localized to the endoderm and trophectoderm (Day 17 conceptus) and was expressed in endometria and placentae throughout gestation. The observed spatiotemporal profile suggests a potential role of calcium and vitamin D in the establishment of pregnancy and regulation of fetal and placental growth, providing a platform for further mechanistic investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-243
Number of pages12
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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