Glandular epithelial cells (GE) in the endometrium are thought to support the elongation and survival of ruminant embryos by secreting histotrophs. In the present study, the gene expression of bovine endometrial epithelial cells cultured in matrigel was analyzed and examined whether it could be an in vitro model of GE. Bovine endometrial epithelial cells (BEE) and stromal cells (BES) were isolated from the slaughterhouse uteri and cultured in DMEM/F12 + 10% FBS. BEE showed the gland-like structure morphological changes when cultured in 15% matrigel but could not be identified in higher concentrations of the matrigel (30% or 60%). The expression of typical genes expressed in GE, SERPINA14 and GRP, was substantially high in matrigel-cultured BEE than in monolayer (P < 0.05). P4 and INFα have no significant effect on the SERPINA14 expression of BEE cultured in matrigel without co-culture with BES. On the other hand, when BEE were co-cultured with BES in matrigel culture, the expression of FGF13 was increased by the P4 treatment (P < 0.05). Furthermore, SERPINA14 and TXN expressions were increased by P4 + IFNα treatment (P < 0.05). These results demonstrate the appropriate conditions for BEE to form glandular structures in matrigel and the effect of co-culture with BES. The present study highlighted the possible use of matrigel for the culture of BEE to investigate the expression of cell-specific glandular epithelial genes as well as P4 and type-I IFN as factors controlling endometrial function during the implantation period.
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