Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors in the rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) endometrium and placenta during early pregnancy.Mol Reprod Dev. 2003 Jun; 65(2):123-31.MR
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is fundamental for development and maintenance of endometrial and placental vascular function during pregnancy. While there are a number of studies on VEGF in the human placenta, they are mostly restricted to late pregnancy. To further understand the role of VEGF in mediating angiogenesis during human early pregnancy, we employed a rhesus monkey early pregnancy model to study the temporal and spatial expression of VEGF and its receptors, fms-like tyrosine kinase (Flt)-1, and kinase-insert domain-containing receptor (KDR) mRNAs and proteins in the uteri on day 12, 18, and 26 of pregnancy using in situ hybridization, RT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry. VEGF mRNA had been identified in the luminal epithelium on day 12, in the glandular epithelium on day 12 and 18, and the highest expression was detected in the walls of some spiral arterioles adjacent to the implantation site on day 18, in the placental villi and in the fetal-maternal border on day 18 and 26. Besides, immunostaining of VEGF was detected in the placental villi and endometrial compartments including spiral arteries walls and the glandular epithelium. The localization of VEGF in the endothelium correlates with the presence of Flt-1 and KDR receptors on vascular structure. All the results above suggest that VEGF-VEGFR pairs were involved in the process of trophoblast invasion, maternal vascular transformation, and fetoplacental vascular differentiation and development during the rhesus monkey early pregnancy. Expression of VEGF, Flt-1, and KDR in the epithelial cells also hints some additionally functional roles of VEGF during early pregnancy.