Detection of Matrix Metalloprotease-9 and Analysis of Protein Patterns in Bovine Vaginal Mucus during Estrus and Pregnancy

  • Kim, Sang-Hwan (Institute of Genetic Engineering, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Baek, Jun-Seok (Graduate School of Bio & Information Technology, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Lee, Ho-Jun (Institute of Genetic Engineering, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Min, Kwan-Sik (Graduate School of Bio & Information Technology, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Lee, Deuk-Hwan (Department of Animal Life Science, Hankyong National University) ;
  • Yoon, Jong-Taek (Department of Animal Life Science, Hankyong National University)
  • Received : 2012.05.12
  • Accepted : 2012.05.30
  • Published : 2012.06.30


To investigate the biochemical nature of changes in vaginal physiology during estrus and pregnancy, we examined the cytology and viscosity, and monitored the protein expression profile in vaginal mucus during estrus and pregnancy. The viscosity progressively decreased from estrus to pregnancy. Cell type analysis revealed that white blood cells progressively increased from estrus to pregnancy, while red blood cells progressively decreased during pregnancy. The cornification index (CI) was higher in estrus than in pregnancy. Protein mass spectrumetry identified the presence of ribosome-binding protein 1, GRIP 1 (Glutamate receptor-interacting protein 1)-associated protein 1, DUF729 (Domain of unknown function729) domain-containing protein 1, prolactin precursor, dihydrofolatereductase, and MMP (Matrix metalloprotease)-9 in vaginal mucus. MMP-2 and MMP-9 proteins in the vaginal mucus were active throughout estrus and gestation, as measured by a gelatinase assay, but most abundant in the vaginal mucus on day 0 of estrus. Results from ELISA of MMP-2 and MMP-9 were in accordance with the gelatinase assay. In light of the crucial role of metalloproteinases in extracellular matrix remodeling, the level of MMP-9 in vaginal mucus might be useful as an indicator of estrus and pregnancy to increase the efficiency of reproduction.


Supported by : Rural Development Administration


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