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Complex cellular interactions occur between the blastocyst and the uterus during implantation. The expression of various polypeptide growth factors and their receptors in the uterus and/or blastocyst during the periimplantation period suggest that growth factors participate in the implantation process. Neu differentiation factor (NDF) is a member of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family of growth factors and is represented by multiple conserved isoforms. The expression of several EGF-like ligands in the periimplantation uterus has been characterized, including EGF, heparin binding-EGF, transforming growth factor alpha, amphiregulin, betacellulin, and epiregulin. We analyzed the expression pattern of NDF in the periimplantation mouse uterus because of its mitogenic and differentiation-promoting effects. By using Northern analysis and isoform-specific polymerase chain reaction, we found that multiple isoforms are expressed in the periimplantation uterus. NDF displays a highly restricted temporal and spatial expression, with autoradiographic signals localized to the uterine stroma immediately surrounding the implanting blastocyst. NDF expression was absent in mice with delayed implantation but briefly reappeared with the same restricted distribution after termination of the delay by an injection of estrogen. Taken together, these results suggest that an activated blastocyst is required for the expression of NDF and that multiple isoforms may be involved in the complex network of cell-signaling events between the implanting blastocyst and the receptive uterus.