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    Characterization of the Th Profile of the Bovine Endometrium during the Oestrous Cycle and Early Pregnancy
    Despite extensive research in the area of cow fertility, the extent to which the maternal immune system is modulated during pregnancy in cattle remains unclear. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to characterize the presence and response profile of B, T-helper (LTh), T- cytotoxic (LTc), gamma delta-T (γδT) and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes in terms of cell number, distribution and cytokine expression in bovine endometrial tissue to pregnancy. Endometrial tissue samples were collected from beef heifers on Days 5, 7, 13 and 16 of the estrous cycle or pregnancy. Samples were analysed by immunofluorescence to identify the presence and abundance of B-B7 (B-cells), CD4 (LTh), CD8 (LTc), γδT cell receptor (TCR) and CD335/NKp46 (NK cells) -positive immune cells. Quantitative real time PCR (QPCR) was carried out to analyse mRNA relative abundance of FOXP3 (a marker of regulatory T (Treg) cells) and a panel of immune factors, including MHC-I, LIF, Interleukins 1, 2, 6, 8, 10, 11,12A, IFNa and IFNG. Results indicate that B-B7+ cells are quite populous in bovine endometrial tissue, CD4+ and CD8+ -cells are present in moderate numbers and γδTCR+ and CD335+ cells are present in low numbers. Pregnancy affected the total number and distribution pattern of the NK cell population, with the most significant variation observed on Day 16 of pregnancy. Neither B lymphocytes nor T lymphocyte subsets were regulated temporally during the oestrous cycle or by pregnancy prior to implantation. mRNA transcript abundance of the immune factors LIF, IL1b, IL8 and IL12A, IFNa and IFNG, expression was regulated temporally during the estrous cycle and LIF, IL1b, IL-10, IL11, IL12A were also temporally regulated during pregnancy. In conclusion, the endometrial immune profile of the oestrous cycle favours a Th2 environment in anticipation of pregnancy and the presence of an embryo acts to fine tune this environment.
      286Scopus© Citations 59