A high protein model alters the endometrial transcriptome of mares

Yatta L. Boakari, Hossam El Sheikh Ali, Pouya Dini, Shavahn Loux, Claudia B. Fernandes, Kirsten Scoggin, Alejandro Esteller-Vico, Laurie Lawrence, Barry Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


High blood urea nitrogen (BUN) decreases fertility of several mammals; however, the mechanisms have not been investigated in mares. We developed an experimental model to elevate BUN, with urea and control treatments (7 mares/treatment), in a crossover design. Urea-treatment consisted of a loading dose of urea (0.03 g/kg of body weight (BW)) and urea injections over 6 hours (0.03 g/kg of BW/h). Control mares received the same volume of saline solution. Blood samples were collected to measure BUN. Uterine and vaginal pH were evaluated after the last intravenous infusion, then endometrial biopsies were collected for RNA-sequencing with a HiSeq 4000. Cuffdiff (2.2.1) was used to identify the differentially expressed genes (DEG) between urea and control groups (false discovery rate-adjusted p-value < 0.1). There was a significant increase in BUN and a decrease of uterine pH in the urea group compared to the control group. A total of 193 genes were DEG between the urea and control groups, with five genes identified as upstream regulators (ETV4, EGF, EHF, IRS2, and SGK1). The DEG were predicted to be related to cell pH, ion homeostasis, changes in epithelial tissue, and solute carriers. Changes in gene expression reveal alterations in endometrial function that could be associated with adverse effects on fertility of mares.

Original languageEnglish
Article number576
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Early embryonic loss
  • Fetal loss
  • High blood urea nitrogen concentrations
  • High protein diets
  • Horse
  • Urea
  • Uterus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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