Rapid increase in relaxin gene expression in early pregnancy in the pig
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Relaxin mRNA concentrations in porcine corpora lutea were examined during the peri-implantation period and throughout pregnancy using Northern and slot blot analysis. Total RNA was extracted from corpora lutea obtained from pigs of known breeding dates and pregnancy was confirmed by embryo recovery. A 32P-labelled porcine relaxin cDNA probe identified the 1.0 kilobase relaxin transcript. Slot blots were subsequently used to quantify relaxin mRNA concentrations. Relaxin mRNA was detectable in the corpus luteum of the regular cycle and was also present at similar low levels in corpora lutea of days 10, 11 and 12 of pregnancy. In corpora lutea from day 16 of pregnancy onwards 100-fold greater quantities of relaxin mRNA were observed. The intensity remained similar in samples between days 16 and 102 of pregnancy. These studies indicate that elevated relaxin gene expression commences very early in pregnancy and is first detectable in the peri-implantation period.
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