Estradiol triggers key biological responses in the endometrium, which rely on the presence and levels of its cognate receptors on target cells. Employing the receptor micro-autoradiography (RMAR) technique, we aimed to provide a temporal and spatial map of the functional binding sites for estradiol in the mouse endometrial stroma during early pregnancy. Uterine samples from days 1.5 to 7.5 of pregnancy were collected 1 h after tritiated- (3H-) estradiol administration and prepared for RMAR analysis. Autoradiographic incorporation of 3H-thymidine (after 1-h pulse) was evaluated over the same gestational interval. Combined RMAR with either histochemistry with Dolichus biflorus (DBA) lectin or immunohistochemistry for detection of the desmin further characterized 3H-estradiol binding pattern in uterine Natural Killer (uNK) and decidual cells, respectively. 3H-estradiol binding levels oscillated in the pregnant endometrial stroma between the mesometrial and antimesometrial regions as well as the superficial and deep domains. Although most of the endometrial stromal cells retained the hormone, a sub-population of them, as well as endothelial and uNK cells, were unable to do so. Rises in the levels of 3H-estradiol binding preceded endometrial stromal cell proliferation. 3H-estradiol binding and 3H-thymidine incorporation progressively decreased along the development of the antimesometrial decidua. Endothelial proliferation occurred regardless of 3H-estradiol binding, whereas pericytes proliferation was associated with high levels of hormone binding. Endometrial cell populations autonomously control their levels of 3H-estradiol binding and retention, a process associated with their proliferative competence. Collectively, our results illustrate the intricate regulatory dynamic of nuclear estrogen receptors in the pregnant mouse endometrium.
Histochemistry and cell biology. 2017 Apr 17 [Epub ahead of print]
Telma M T Zorn, Rodolfo R Favaro, Mauricio Soto-Suazo, Walter E Stumpf