Honors College Thesis

The Characterization of Oxytocin Receptors on Bovine Corpus Luteum Endothelial Cells

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  • Oxytocin is a hormone well know for the stimulation of childbirth and milk letdown in mammals. Large levels of the hormone are also released during angiogenesis in the growth of the corpus luteum (CL), a temporary endocrine gland that forms on the ovaries following ovulation. Levels of oxytocin decline after the CL is fully formed, on Days 7 & 8 of the bovine estrous cycle. The exact mechanism of the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells during angiogenesis is unknown. Further interest into the growth of the CL stems from two reasons as follows: 1) Inhibition of the ability of the CL's production of progesterone, a hormone necessary for the uterus to maintain a pregnancy, and 2) the striking similarity in the growth of the CL to tumors, which undergo angiogenesis in order to metastasize. The following study focuses on whether oxytocin binds specifically to receptors in endothelial cells of the growing bovine CL which were removed on day 8 of the estrous cycle from the five heifers. Endothelial cells were isolated using tosyl-activated magnetic beads bearing lectin BS-1 which binds specifically to receptors on bovine endothelial cells. Samples of endothelial cell and non-endothelial cell membranes were exposed to [³H]-oxytocin or to [³H]-oxytocin with 200 fold excess of unlabeled oxytocin to determine whether oxytocin binding was occurring to receptors. The results showed slight binding to endothelial cells, however, it was the non-endothelial cells that appeared to contain greater quantity of oxytocin receptors.
  • Keywords: Bovine, Oxytocin
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