Table_4_Differential microRNA Expression in Porcine Endometrium Involved in Remodeling and Angiogenesis That Contributes to Embryonic Implantation.xls

Background: In western swine breeds, up to 30% of embryonic losses occur during early pregnancy, and the majority of embryonic losses happens during implantation. In this period, maternal recognition of pregnancy begins to occur and blastocysts undergo dramatic morphologic changes. As with other species, changes in the uterine environment plays an important role in the process of embryo implantation in pigs. Erhualian (ER) pigs, one of the Chinese Taihu swine breeds, are known to have the highest litter size in the world. Experiments demonstrated that the greater embryonic survival on gestation day (GD) 12 in Chinese Taihu pigs is one important factor that contributes to enhanced litter size. This is largely controlled by maternal genes. In this study, endometrial samples were collected from pregnant Landrace×Large Yorkshire (LL) sows (parity 3) and ER sows (parity 3) on GD12 and the expression profiles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the endometrium were compared between ER and LL using miRNA-seq technology.

Results: A total of 288 miRNAs were identified in the pig endometrium, including 202 previously known and 86 novel miRNAs. The Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis revealed that highly abundant miRNAs might affect endometrial remodeling. Comparison between LL and ER sows revealed that 96 known miRNAs were differentially expressed between the two groups (including 78 up-regulated and 18 down-regulated miRNAs in ER compared to LL). Bioinformatics analysis showed that the target genes of some differentially expressed miRNAs were involved in pathways related to angiogenesis, proliferation, apoptosis, and tissue remodeling, which play critical roles in implantation by regulating endometrial structural changes and secretions of hormones, growth factors, and nutrients. Furthermore, the results demonstrated that insulin-like growth factor-1 protein expression was directly inhibited by miR-206. The lower expression of miR-206 in ER compared to LL might facilitate the angiogenesis of the endometrium during embryo implantation.

Conclusions: The identified miRNAs that are differentially expressed in the endometrium of ER and LL pigs will contribute to the understanding of the role of miRNAs in embryonic implantation and the molecular mechanisms of the highest embryonic survival in Chinese ER pigs.