Estrogen plays an important role in the normal physiology as well as various pathologies of the uterus. Given the nature of uterine remodeling during the reproductive cycle and pregnancy, we sought to determine whether CCN5, a gene that we have shown to be important in smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration, is an estrogen-induced gene in the uterus. In the present study, we demonstrate that levels of CCN5 mRNA and protein expression were 5-fold higher in uteri from proestrous females relative to metestrous females, a finding consistent with estrogen induction of the CCN5 gene. Ovariectomized rats treated with exogenous estrogen or estrogen and progesterone exhibited 4- to 8-fold higher levels of CCN5 mRNA and protein than animals treated with either progesterone or vehicle alone. Analysis of rat uterine sections using immunohistochemistry demonstrates CCN5 localization throughout the uterus, including the endometrium and endometrial glands as well as the myometrium. Thus, our data indicate that CCN5 is positively regulated by estrogen in the rat uterus and suggests that this gene may play an important role in maintaining normal uterine physiology.
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