Objective—To evaluate changes of glycoconjugate in uterine glands of endometrial tissues obtained from mares.
Animals—50 adult mares.
Procedure—Uterine biopsy samples were collected during the breeding season and analyzed histologically for signs of chronic endometrial degeneration. Stage of the estrous cycle was established, using clinical examination and determination of hormonal status. Uterine tissue samples were analyzed, using lectin histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques (estrogen and progesterone receptors). Connective tissues were stained to determine alterations of ground substance in periglandular fibrosis.
Results—Of 50 mares, 30 (60%) were classified as normal or having modest alterations, and 20 (40%) were classified as having moderate or severe endometrial degeneration. In normal equine endometrium, several lectins (Helix pomatia agglutinin, Lotus tetragonolobus agglutinin, Ricinus communis I agglutinin, Ulex europaeus agglutinin, and wheat germ agglutinin) bound to glycoconjugates of the luminal epithelium and openings of uterine glands. Lectin binding patterns of cystic dilated glands or fibrotic glands in endometrial samples were remarkably strong, whereas normal surrounding cells remained unstained. Lotus tetragonolobus lectin was not suitable for detecting endometrial alterations. Connective tissues stained with Alcian blue and results of Hale colloidal-iron binding revealed acidic ground substance in periglandular fibrosis. Estrogen and progesterone receptors were evenly distributed in healthy and affected endometrial samples.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Glycoconjugate patterns of uterine glands were altered in mares with chronic endometrial degeneration. Therefore, uterine secretions are likely to be altered. These changes are not induced by changes in content of estrogen and progesterone receptors in endometrial tissues. (Am J Vet Res 2001;62:840–845)