Effect of oral urea supplementation on the endometrial transcriptome of mares

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

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1 Scopus citations


An intravenous large dose of protein led to an increased blood urea nitrogen (BUN), resulting in a lesser uterine pH and altered uterine gene expression in mares. The objective of the present study was to evaluate effects of a more physiological methodology to increase BUN on the endometrium of mares. Mares were fed hay and a treatment or control diet (n = 11 mares/treatment) in a crossover design starting at time of ovulation detection (D0) and continuing until D7. Mares of the treated group were fed urea (0.4 g/kg BW) with sweet feed and molasses, and those of the control group were fed sweet feed and molasses. Blood samples were collected daily, 1 hour after feeding, for BUN determination. Uterine and vaginal pH were determined after the last feeding on D7, and endometrial biopsies were performed. The RNA sequencing of the endometrium of a subset of mares (n = 6/treatment) was conducted. Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between treatments were calculated (FDR-adjusted P-value<0.1). Urea-treated mares had greater BUN (P < 0.05), with no differences in uterine and vaginal pH compared to control mares. A total of 60 DEGs were characterized, those with largest fold change were SIK1, ATF3, SPINK7, NR4A1 and EGR3. Processes related to necrosis and cellular movement were predicted with the DEGs. Dietary administration of urea resulted in transcriptomic changes in the endometrium of mares related to necrosis, tissue remodeling and concentration of lipids. The observed changes in gene expression after an increased BUN might result in a disruption to the endometrium.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106464
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Pregnancy loss
  • Protein diet
  • Urea-treatment
  • Uterus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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