Changes in plasminogen activator are associated with the reproductive tissue remodelling that occurs during growth. Given the trophic effects of relaxin on the pig uterus and cervix, the present study was designed to examine the impact of relaxin on urokinase and tissue-type plasminogen activator (uPA and tPA) protein and activity in the uterus and cervix of prepubertal pigs. After relaxin administration in vivo to induce growth of the immature uterus and cervix, plasminogen activator activity was measured in uterine flushes and uterine and cervical tissue using a chromogenic substrate assay. Immunoreactive uPA and tPA protein in uterine flushes and uterine and cervical tissue was detected by western blotting. Urokinase plasminogen activator activity was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in uterine flushes from relaxin-treated animals than in controls. However, there was no change in uterine flush tPA activity or protein in response to in vivo relaxin treatment. There was no evidence for acid-labile inhibitors of plasminogen activator in uterine flushes of any of the animals. Cell-associated uterine tissue uPA and tPA activity, as well as protein, were similar in relaxin-treated and control prepubertal pigs. In the cervix, cell-associated tPA activity decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in relaxin-treated animals, while cervical uPA activity was unchanged. These results support the view that at least one means by which relaxin promotes pig uterine growth is by increasing uterine secretion of uPA. In addition, these studies suggest that relaxin administration in vivo to prepubertal gilts has tissue-specific effects with respect to plasminogen activator.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Developmental Biology