Involvement of activin signal pathway in cyclic apoptosis of the oviductal isthmic epithelium in cows

Yuki Yamamoto, Sayaka Ito, Kiyoshi Okuda, Koji Kimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Activin (ACV) A induces various cellular functions via activin receptor type 2 (ACVR2A/2B)-activin receptor-like kinase (ALK) 4 -Smad 2/3 pathway. Although the production of ACVA is indicated in bovine oviducts, its role on the oviduct is unclear. Oviductal isthmus needs to change its function rapidly at peri-fertilization, however, the mechanism is unknown. This study was aimed to clarify the role of ACVA in the morphological changes of oviductal isthmus in cows. First, mRNA expressions of INHBA (ACVA component) and its receptors (ALK4, ACVR2A and ACVR2B) in the isthmic tissues were examined throughout the estrous cycle. INHBA was the highest, however, ACVR2A was the lowest on the day of ovulation, suggesting reduced ACV signal transduction in the isthmus just after ovulation. Proteins of ACVRs and Smad2/3 were clearly detected in the cultured epithelial cells. It is known that ACVA regulates cellular apoptosis. Our data showed that the number of cleaved caspase-3-positive epithelial cells was largest at 2–3 days after ovulation in the isthmus. Interestingly, our study demonstrated that follistatin (ACV/TGFB/BMP inhibitor) significantly decreased the BCL2/BAX ratio in the cultured isthmic epithelial cells. To clarify which ALK pathway is involved in the regulation of BCL2/BAX ratio, the effects of SB431542 (ACV signaling (ALK4) and TGFB signaling (ALK5) inhibitor), SB525334 (ALK5 inhibitor) and LDN193189 (BMP signaling (ALK2/3) inhibitor) were investigated in the next study. The results showed that only SB431542 significantly decreased BCL2/BAX and the others had no effects. These results suggest that decreased ACVA-ACVR2A-ALK4 signal at the post-ovulation induces cyclic apoptosis of isthmic epithelial cells in bovine oviducts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2020


  • Activin
  • Apoptosis
  • Oviductal isthmus
  • Smad signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


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