Focal Adhesion Proteins, Vinculin and Integrin β5, During Early Pregnancy in Rat Uterine Epithelial Cells: Anastrozole Favors their Normal Distribution

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Anthony Mwakikunga; Gbenga A. Adefolaju; Lynne Schepartz & Margot J. Hosie


An alternative superovulator to replace clomiphene citrate is needed as clomiphene citrate is associated with low pregnancy rates. Anastrozole is an effective superovulator, but it has not been well researched. In order to determine the effectiveness of anastrozole as a superovulator and to compare it with clomiphene citrate in similar situations, this study ascertained the effects of these drugs on the expression of the focal adhesion proteins, vinculin and integrin β5, which are uterine receptivity markers, in the uterine epithelial cells of day 1 and day 6 pregnant Wistar rats. The results show that vinculin and integrin β5 are co-localized at the base of the uterine epithelium at day 1 of pregnancy whereas at day 6, they disassemble from the basal focal adhesions and co-localize and significantly increase their expression apically (p≤0.0001). Moreover, there is a significant difference in the protein expression levels of vinculin and integrin β5 in uterine luminal epithelial cells between untreated (control) and chlomiphene citrate treated rats (p≤0.0001), anastrozole and chlomiphene citrate treated rats at day 6 (p≤0.0001) suggesting the interpretation that anastrozole seems to enhance their expression in order to perhaps assist in the implantation process of the blastocyst. The immunofluorescence experiments agree with the vinculin and integrin β5 gene expression findings in which at day 6 of pregnancy, vinculin and integrin β5 gene expression are significantly up- regulated in uterine luminal epithelial cells in the anastrozole treated group relative to the calibrator sample (p≤0.0001). These findings suggest that anastrozole is implantation friendly.

KEY WORDS: Implantation; Uterus; Early pregnancy; Vinculin; Integrin β5; Focal adhesion proteins.

How to cite this article

MWAKIKUNGA, A.; ADEFOLAJU, G. A.; SCHEPARTZ, L. & HOSIE, M. J. Focal adhesion proteins, vinculin and integrin β5, during early pregnancy in rat uterine epithelial cells: Anastrozole favors their normal distribution. Int. J. Morphol., 36(1):345-357, 2018.