MHC Class II+ (HLA-DP-like) Cells in the Cow Reproductive Tract: I. Immunolocalization and Distribution of MHC Class II+ Cells in Uterus at Different Phases of the Estrous Cycle

  • Eren, U. (University of Adnan Menderes, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Histology -Embryology) ;
  • Sandikci, M. (University of Adnan Menderes, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Histology -Embryology) ;
  • Kum, S. (University of Adnan Menderes, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Histology -Embryology) ;
  • Eren, V. (University of Adnan Menderes, Cine Vocational High School)
  • Received : 2007.04.22
  • Accepted : 2007.08.14
  • Published : 2008.01.01


This study was undertaken to investigate the distribution of major histocompatibility complex class II positive (MHC II+) (HLA-DP-like) cells in the cow uterus (cervix, corpus and cornu uteri) and to compare these cells between the estrus and diestrus phases of the estrous cycle. Twenty-nine multiparous cows were used. Tissue samples from the middle of the cervix, the corpus and the right cornu were taken immediately after slaughter at the estrus or diestrus phase. Streptavidin-biotin peroxidase complex staining was used to detect MHC II+ cells. The number of MHC II+ cells per unit area of tissue was counted using image analysis software under a light microscope. Numerous MHC II+ cells were found in the endometrium (cervix, corpus and cornu uteri) in both estrus and diestrus. MHC II+ cells were found in the surface epithelium of the cervix uteri in diestrus, but in the corpus uteri in both estrus and diestrus and in the cornu uteri in estrus. MHC II+ cells were also found freely in the lumen of the glands and between the gland epithelia of the corpus and cornu uteri in both estrus and diestrus. There were also MHC II+ cells in the connective tissue of the myometrium and perimetrium (outside the endometrium) and around the blood vessels. Endothelial cells were frequently positive for MHC II staining. More MHC II+ cells were found in the endometrium than outside the endometrium in both estrus and diestrus (p<0.001). However, there was no difference in the numbers of positive cells between estrus and diestrus either in the endometrium or outside it. These results are the first evidence for HLA-DP-like MHC II+ cells in the bovine uterus. They indicate that antigen presentation by HLA-DP-like MHC II+ cells of the uterus is not influenced by hormonal status.


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