The major endocrine regulators of the female reproductive tract are 17β-estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). This review discusses our recent work related to the roles of E2 and P4 and their receptors, estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1) and progesterone receptor (PR), respectively, in the neonatal uterus. Neonatal uterine cells in mice are mitogenically responsive to estrogens, but neonatal ovariectomy does not inhibit pre-weaning uterine cell proliferation, indicating that this process does not require endogenous estrogens. Neonatal uterine cell proliferation could result from ligand-independent growth factor activation of ESR1, or be independent of ESR1 neonatally despite its obligatory role in adult uterine epithelial proliferation. To determine the role of ESR1 in uterine development, we analyzed cell proliferation and uterine gland development (adenogenesis) in wild-type (WT) and Esr1 knockout (Esr1KO) mice postnatally. Our results indicate that pre-weaning uterine cell proliferation and adenogenesis are independent of ESR1, but these processes become dependent on E2/ESR1 signaling for maintenance and further proliferation and uterine growth during puberty. How pre-weaning uterine cell proliferation and adenogenesis occur independently of E2/ESR1 signaling remains unknown, but ligand-independent activation of ESR1 is not involved in this process. The synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (Dex) inhibits luminal epithelial (LE) proliferation in neonatal mouse uteri, but it has been unclear whether Dex effects were mediated by glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and/or PR. We have used PR knockout (PRKO) mice to test whether PR is required for Dex inhibition of LE proliferation. Our results indicate that maximal inhibitory Dex effects on uterine LE proliferation require PR, possibly reflecting Dex crosstalk with PR. Inhibitory effects of Dex and P4 on LE proliferation may also involve GR binding, as indicated by the small but significant inhibition of LE proliferation by both Dex and P4 in PRKO mice.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2015|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology