Phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) and Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) follicular signalling is conserved in the mare ovary

Sally E. Hall, Rose M.O. Upton, Eileen A. McLaughlin, Jessie M. Sutherland

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The mare ovary is unique in its anatomical structure; however, the signalling pathways responsible for physiological processes, such as follicular activation, remain uncharacterised. This provided us with the impetus to explore whether signalling molecules from important folliculogenesis pathways, phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) and Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT), are conserved in the mare ovary. Messenger RNA expression of six genes important in follicle development was measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and protein localisation of key pathway members (PI3K, AKT1, phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN), JAK1, STAT3 and suppressor of cytokine signalling 4 (SOCS4)) was compared in tissue from fetal and adult mare ovaries. Tissue from adult ovaries exhibited significantly increased levels of mRNA expression of PI3K, AKT1, PTEN, JAK1, STAT3 and SOCS4 compared with tissue from fetal ovaries. PI3K, AKT1, JAK1 and STAT3 demonstrated redistributed localisation, from pregranulosa cells in fetal development, to both the oocyte and granulosa cells of follicles in the adult ovary, whilst negative feedback molecules PTEN and SOCS4 were only localised to the granulosa cells in the adult ovary. These findings suggest that the PI3K/AKT and JAK/STAT signalling pathways are utilised during folliculogenesis in the mare, similarly to previously studied mammalian species, and may serve as useful biomarkers for assessment of ovary development in the horse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-633
Number of pages10
JournalReproduction, Fertility and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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