Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 4394702, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4394702
Research Article

Estrogen Modulates Expression of Tight Junction Proteins in Rat Vagina

1Department of Urology, Chonnam National University Medical School, Sexual Medicine Research Center, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61469, Republic of Korea
2Department of Anatomy, Chonnam National University Medical School, Sexual Medicine Research Center, Chonnam National University, Gwangju 61469, Republic of Korea

Received 7 December 2015; Revised 4 March 2016; Accepted 28 March 2016

Academic Editor: Wan-Liang Lu

Copyright © 2016 Kyung-Jin Oh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The objectives of this study were to investigate the localization of tight junctions and the modulation of zonula occludens- (ZO-) 1, occludin and claudin-1 expression by estrogen in castrated female rat vagina. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (230–240 g, ) were divided into three groups and subjected to a sham operation (control group, ), bilateral ovariectomy (Ovx group, ), or bilateral ovariectomy followed by daily subcutaneous injection of 17β-estradiol (50 μg/kg/day, Ovx + Est group, ). The cellular localization and expression of ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-1 were determined in each group by immunohistochemistry and western blot. Results. Expression of ZO-1 was diffuse in all groups, with the highest intensity in the superficial epithelium in the control group. Occludin was localized in the intermediate and basal epithelium. Claudin-1 was most intense in the superficial layer of the vaginal epithelium in the control group. Expression of ZO-1, occludin, and claudin-1 was significantly decreased after ovariectomy and was restored to the level of the control after estrogen replacement. Conclusions. Tight junctions are distinctly localized in rat vagina, and estrogen modulates the expression of tight junctions. Further researches are needed to clarify the functional role of tight junctions in vaginal lubrication.