Age and nursing affect the neonatal porcine uterine transcriptome

Kathleen M. Rahman, Meredith E. Camp, Nripesh Prasad, Anthony K. McNeel, Shawn E. Levy, Frank F. Bartol, Carol A. Bagnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The lactocrine hypothesis for maternal programming of neonatal development was proposed to describe a mechanism through which milk-borne bioactive factors, delivered from mother to nursing offspring, could affect development of tissues, including the uterus. Porcine uterine development, initiated before birth, is completed postnatally. However, age- and lactocrine-sensitive elements of the neonatal porcine uterine developmental program are undefined. Here, effects of age and nursing on the uterine transcriptome for 48 h from birth (Postnatal Day [PND]=0) were identified using RNA sequencing (RNAseq). Uterine tissues were obtained from neonatal gilts (n= 4 per group) within 1 h of birth and before feeding (PND 0), or 48 h after nursing ad libitum (PND 2N) or feeding a commercial milk replacer (PND 2R). RNAseq analysis revealed differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with both age (PND 2N vs. PND 0; 3283 DEGs) and nursing on PND 2 (PND 2N vs PND 2R; 896 DEGs). Expression of selected uterine genes was validated using quantitative real-time PCR. Bioinformatic analyses revealed multiple biological processes enriched in response to both age and nursing, including cell adhesion, morphogenesis, and cellcell signaling. Age-sensitive pathways also included estrogen receptor-alpha and hedgehog signaling cascades. Lactocrinesensitive processes in nursed gilts included those involved in response to wounding, the plasminogen activator network and coagulation. Overall, RNAseq analysis revealed comprehensive age- and nursing-related transcriptomic differences in the neonatal porcine uterus and identified novel pathways and biological processes regulating uterine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number46
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


  • Developmental biology
  • Gene expression
  • Genomics
  • Lactocrine
  • Neonatal
  • Nursing
  • Porcine/pig
  • Transcriptome
  • Uterus


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