Apoptosis in the canine endometrium during the estrous cycle
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Los Altos, Calif.
Theriogenology: an international journal of animal reproduction. - Los Altos, Calif.
, p. 1595-1608
Apoptotic cell death in the endometria of 58 female dogs in different stages of the estrous cycle was assessed (in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections) with both the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and immunohistochemical detection of caspase-3 activity. For both techniques, the apoptotic index was determined in the surface epithelium, stroma, crypts, and basal glands by counting the percentage of stained cells in a total of 500 cells in each category. In the surface epithelium and stroma, TUNEL- and caspase-3-positive cells were rare (apoptotic index<1) throughout the estrous cycle. However, caspase-3 detection showed a significant increase in the apoptotic index in the stroma during anestrus as well as an increase in the index in both the stroma and surface epithelium in late metestrus. The apoptotic index increased during late metestrus and anestrus in the crypts and basal glands; in the crypts, this increase was significant only when caspase-3 detection was used, whereas in basal glands, significant differences were found for both techniques. In conclusion, apoptosis was present in canine endometrial cells during the estrous cycle, but caspase-3 detection showed more significant differences than the TUNEL assay. Furthermore, a high apoptotic index (suggestive of endometrial desquamation) was not detected in the surface epithelium and there was no significant correlation between the apoptotic index in any cell group and serum progesterone concentrations.