Characterization of decorin mRNA in pregnant intrauterine tissues of the ewe and regulation by steroids

Wen Xuan Wu, Qi Zhang, Nobuya Unno, Jan B. Derks, Peter W. Nathanielsz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In this study, we characterized the changes in the extracellular matrix proteoglycan decorin in pregnant intrauterine tissues in late gestation and in association with labor and delivery in sheep. In addition, we examined the effects of estradiol and progesterone on regulation of decorin mRNA expression in myometrium from the nonpregnant ovariectomized sheep. Using suppression subtractive hybridization in combination with Northern blot analysis, we identified a significant increase in decorin mRNA in the pregnant sheep myometrium during labor. The abundance of decorin mRNA paralleled myometrial contractility. The increase in decorin mRNA during labor was only demonstrated in the myometrium; no increase was observed in the endometrium or fetal membranes. Estradiol upregulated decorin mRNA and may act as a potential stimulator responsible for the increased decorin in the myometrium during parturition. The ovine decorin cDNA spans 1288 nt, includes 1083 nt of coding sequence predicted to encode a protein of 360 amino acids, 119 nt of 5'-untranslated region (UTR) and 86 nt of 3'-UTR. Over the coding region, the protein shares 79-96% nt sequence identity and 73-94% identity in the deduced amino acid sequence with homologous mammalian sequences. Using cloned decorin cDNA, we observed that the fibroblasts are the predominant cell type in the pregnant sheep myometrium containing decorin mRNA. These data suggest that increased decorin synthesis participates in the matrix changes that may play a role in myometrial activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C199-C206
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number1 47-1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Endometrium
  • Estradiol
  • Fetal membranes
  • Myometrium
  • Parturition
  • Progesterone
  • Sheep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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