Interferon-tau is a maternal recognition factor in ruminant species, and spleen plays an essential role in regulating innate and adaptive immune responses. However, it is not fully understood that early pregnancy induces expression of interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) in the spleen during early pregnancy in ewes. In this study, spleens were collected from ewes at day 16 of the estrous cycle, and on days 13, 16, and 25 of gestation (n = 6 for each group), and RT-qPCR, western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis were used to detect the expression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1), 2′,5′-oligoadenylate synthetase 1 (OAS1), myxovirusresistance protein 1 (Mx1) and C-X-C motif chemokine 10 (CXCL10). The results revealed that STAT1
mRNA and proteins were upregulated in the spleens during early pregnancy, and STAT1 protein was located in connective tissue cells in the capsule and trabeculae, and blood cells and lymphocytes in the red pulp. However, early pregnancy had no significant effects on expression of MX1
mRNA and protein. In conclusion, early pregnancy induces expression of STAT1, OAS1 and CXCL10 in maternal spleen, suggesting that maternal spleen is involved in immune regulation of pregnancy in sheep.
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