Understanding the inguinal sinus in sheep (Ovis aries)—Morphology, secretion, and expression of progesterone, estrogens, and prolactin receptors

G. Alexandre-Pires, C. Martins, A.M. Galvão, M. Miranda, O. Silva, D. Ligeiro, T. Nunes, G. Ferreira-Dias

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Abstract

Post-parturient behavior of mammalian females is essential for early parent–offspring contact. After delivery, lambs need to ingest colostrum for obtaining the related immunological protection, and early interactions between the mother and the lamb are crucial. Despite visual and auditory cues, olfactory cues are decisive in lamb orientation to the mammary gland. In sheep, the inguinal sinus is located bilaterally near the mammary gland as a skin pouch (IGS) that presents a gland that secretes a strong-smelling wax. Sheep IGS gland functions have many aspects under evaluation. The objective of the present study was to evaluate sheep IGS gland functional aspects and mRNA transcription and the protein expression of several hormone receptors, such as progesterone receptor (PGR), estrogen receptor 1 (ESR1), and 2 (ESR2) and prolactin receptor (PRLR) present. In addition, another aim was to achieve information about IGS ultrastructure and chemical compounds produced in this gland. All hormone receptors evaluated show expression in IGS during the estrous cycle (follicular/luteal phases), pregnancy, and the post-partum period. IGS secretion is rich in triterpenoids that totally differ from the surrounding skin. They might be essential substances for the development of an olfactory preference of newborns to their mothers. © 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume18
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Keywords

  • Chemical compounds
  • ESR1
  • ESR2
  • Inguinal sinus
  • Morphology
  • PGR
  • PRLR
  • Transcription
  • Triterpenoids

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