Estradiol regulation of secretory component: Expression by rat uterine epithelial cells
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Sex hormones are known to play an important role in the regulation of mucosal immunity in the female reproductive tract. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of estradiol (E2) on secretory component (SC) expression by epithelial cells in the rat uterus and to determine whether SC mRNA is present in uterine tissues and is under hormonal control. When ovariectomized rats treated with E2 for 3 days and sacrificed 12 h after the last injection, expression of SC on luminal and glandular epithelial cells, as determined by immunohistochemistry, was elevated when compared to control animals. To determine whether E2 regulation of SC involves mRNA synthesis, uterine RNA was extracted and analyzed by Northern blot. These experiments demonstrated that SC RNA is present in uteri from intact rats and markedly increased when ovariectomized animals are treated with E2. In other studies, uterine epithelial cells from adult rats were isolated and grown on permeable membranes for 5 to 10 days. Under these conditions, isolated epithelial cells grow to confluence, form tight junctions, and preferentially secrete SC into the apical medium. These studies identify epithelial cells as a key target cell in the uterus for the regulation of mucosal immunity by E2, which we postulate will play an important role in studies to prevent and/or control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
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