Role of secretory protease inhibitor SPINK3 in mouse uterus during early pregnancy

Wen Chen, Bing Chen Han, Rong Chun Wang, Gao Feng Xiong, Jing Pian Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Successful embryo implantation depends on intricate epithelial-stromal cross-talk. However, molecular modulators involved in this cellular communication remain poorly elucidated. Using multiple approaches, we have investigated the spatiotemporal expression and regulation of serine protease inhibitor Kazal type 3 (SPINK3) in mouse uterus during the estrous cycle and early pregnancy. In cycling mice, both SPINK3 mRNA and protein are only expressed during proestrus. In the pregnant mouse, the expression levels of both SPINK3 mRNA and protein increase on days 5-8 and then decline. Spink3 mRNA is expressed exclusively in the uterine glandular epithelium, whereas SPINK3 protein is localized on the surface of both luminal and glandular epithelium and in the decidua. Moreover, SPINK3 in the decidua has been observed in the primary decidual zone on day 6 and the secondary decidual zone on days 7-8; this is tightly associated with the progression of decidualization. SPINK3 has also been found in decidual cells of the artificially decidualized uterine horn but not control horn, whereas Spink3 mRNA localizes in the glands of both horns. The expression of endometrial Spink3 is not regulated by the blastocyst according to its expression pattern during pseudopregnancy and delayed implantation but is induced by progesterone and further augmented by a combination of progesterone and estrogen in ovariectomized mice. Thus, uterine-gland-derived SPINK3, as a new paracrine modulator, might play an important role in embryo implantation through its influence on stromal decidualization in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-451
Number of pages11
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (grant number: 2006CB944007; 2006CB504006), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number: 30770246), and Beijing Natural Science Foundation (grant number: 5071001).


  • Decidualization
  • Implantation
  • Mouse (Kunming white)
  • Progesterone
  • SPINK3
  • Uterus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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