Luteal regression in the normally cycling rat: apoptosis, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and inflammatory cell involvement.
In hypophysectomized rats, prolactin induces regression of the corpora lutea. Luteal regression is accompanied by infiltration of monocytes/macrophages, declines in luteal mass and plasma progestins, and increased staining for monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1). We investigated whether similar events are induced during the estrous cycle, after the proestrous prolactin surge. Rats were killed on proestrus or on estrus, and one ovary was frozen for immunohistochemical detection of MCP-1, monocytes/macrophages (ED1-positive), and differentiated macrophages (ED2-positive) and for in situ detection of apoptotic nuclei. Corpora lutea of the current (proestrus) or preceding (estrus) cycle were dissected from the ovaries of additional rats and frozen for the same analyses and for determination of total protein content. In sections of whole ovaries, intensity and distribution of MCP-1 staining were increased in corpora lutea of multiple ages on estrus as compared to proestrus, as were numbers of differentiated macrophages and apoptotic nuclei per high-power field. Sections of isolated corpora lutea showed these increases on estrus, and the number of monocytes/macrophages per high-power field was also significantly increased. Accompanying these inflammatory/immune events, the corpora lutea on estrus showed decreased weight and total protein per corpus luteum, as compared to corpora lutea on proestrus. These changes are consistent with a proposed role for prolactin in the initiation of luteal apoptosis and of a sequence of inflammatory/immune events that accompany regression of the rat corpus luteum during the normal estrous cycle. (+info)
Prolonged mating in prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) increases likelihood of ovulation and embryo number.
Prairie voles are induced ovulators that mate frequently in brief bouts over a period of approximately 24 h. We examined 1) impact of mating duration on ovulation and embryo number, 2) incidence of fertilization, 3) temporal pattern of embryo development, 4) embryo progression through the reproductive tract over time, and 5) embryo development in culture. Mating was videotaped to determine first copulation, and the ovaries were examined and the reproductive tracts flushed at 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, and 24 h and 2, 3, and 4 days after first copulation. The number of mature follicles and fresh corpora lutea and the number and developmental stage of embryos were quantified. One, two-, and four-cell embryos were cultured in Whitten's medium. Mature follicles were present at the earliest time examined (6 h). Thirty-eight percent of females that had been paired for < 12 h after the first copulation ovulated, whereas all females paired >/= 12 h after the first copulation ovulated. Virtually all (> 99%) oocytes recovered from females paired for >/= 12 h after first copulation were fertilized. Pairing time after first copulation and mean copulation-bout duration were significant (p < 0.05) determinants of embryo number. Embryos entered the uterine horns and implanted on Days 3 and 4, respectively, after first copulation (Day 0). Embryos cultured in vitro underwent approximately one cell division per day, a rate similar to that in vivo. We conclude that prairie voles ovulate reliably after pairing for >/= 12 h, although some females showed exceptional sensitivity not predicted by the variables quantified. Prolonged mating for longer than 12 h increased the total embryos produced. This mechanism likely has adaptive significance for increasing offspring number. (+info)
Expression of oestrogen receptor alpha and beta mRNA in corpus luteum of human subjects.
To investigate the role of oestrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) in the function of human ovarian corpus luteum, the levels of luteal ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA were determined using competitive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction-Southern blot analysis. The expression of ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA was detected in all luteal samples analysed. Luteal ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA levels were significantly lower (P<0.01 and P<0.05 respectively) at the late secretory phase than those at the early and mid-secretory phases of the endometrium. The ratio of ERalpha to ERbeta mRNA levels showed no change during the secretory phase of the endometrium. This study demonstrates that ERbeta is co-expressed with ERalpha in human corpus luteum and is likely to play a biological role in the regulation of steroidal action of the corpus luteum with ERalpha. (+info)
Fas and Fas ligand messenger ribonucleic acid and protein expression in the rat corpus luteum during apoptosis-mediated luteolysis.
Apoptosis has been found to occur during regression of the corpus luteum (CL) in many species. The Fas (APO-1/CD95) receptor, a transmembrane protein that induces apoptosis in the cell when bound to Fas ligand (FasL), may be involved. This study established and quantitated the presence and regulation of Fas receptor and FasL in the rat CL during pregnancy and postpartum. Using immunohistochemistry, FasL was localized in CL during pregnancy and postpartum. Fas was localized at Day 1 of pregnancy and at the time of luteolysis. Both Fas and FasL mRNA were found to be expressed throughout pregnancy and postpartum using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Relative quantitative RT-PCR established that expression of FasL mRNA increased significantly at Day 22 of pregnancy and decreased by Day 3 postpartum. Spontaneous apoptosis of rat CL placed in an in vitro culture model with serum-free medium was examined by analysis of extracted DNA using 3' end-labeling. Treatment with an anti-rat Fas monoclonal antibody demonstrated a reduction in the occurrence of spontaneous apoptosis. These data support a role for Fas receptor and FasL in rat CL apoptosis during luteolysis. (+info)
A quantitative study of changes in the human corpus luteum microvasculature during the menstrual cycle.
Endothelial cells are the most abundant cell type in the corpus luteum (CL), and changes in blood vessels have been proposed to play a pivotal role in CL regression. We have studied quantitatively the changes in the human granulosa-luteal microvasculature in CL of various ages: young (Days 17-19 of the cycle), mature (Days 20-24), old (Days 25-27), early regressing (follicular phase of the following cycle), and late regressing (luteal phase of the following cycle). Blood vessels were identified by immunohistochemical staining for the endothelial cell marker CD34. Because of the anisotropy of blood vessels, both vertical and transverse sections of the granulosa-lutein layer (GLL) were used to estimate relative (volume, surface, and length densities) and absolute (mean cross-sectional area) vascular variables. Full luteinization from young to mature CL was accompanied by a 61% increase in the mean cross-sectional area of vascular profiles and a 52% increase in the mean volume of granulosa-lutein cells, as an estimator of changes in the volume of the GLL. In old and early regressing CL, there was a progressive increase in relative structural vascular variables, due to the shrinkage of the GLL, whereas the mean cross-sectional area of capillaries showed a 53% decrease from mature to old CL. Finally, in late regressing CL, there was a decrease in most relative structural variables, in spite of the increasingly shrunken GLL. The decrease in the capillary diameter found at the late luteal phase most likely leads to a decreased blood flow, and early changes in blood vessels could initiate and/or accelerate CL regression. (+info)
A proposed sequence of hormones controlling the induction of luteal 20alpha-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase and progesterone withdrawal in the late-pregnant rat.
1. The previously reported induction of luteal 20alpha-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase by administration of aminoglutethimide to late-pregnant rats was shown to be unaffected by prior removal of the foetuses. Aminoglutethimide therefore does not act via the foetuses in this context. 2. The ability of injected oestrogen to prevent the above induction was lost by delaying the injection for 12h after aminoglutethimide, although the increase in enzyme activity begins only after 24h. 3. Induction of 20alpha-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase by foetoplacental removal on day 18 of pregnancy was inhibited by human choriogonadotropin, lutropin (luteinizing hormone) and pregnant-mare serum gonadotropin, but not by somatotropin (growth hormone), thyrotropin or follitropin (follicle-stimulating hormone) 4. Indomethacin blocked the normal induction of 20alpha-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenase in late pregnancy and that caused by aminoglutethimide. It partially blocked that caused by human choriogonadotropin given on days 19-20 and that caused by 2-bromo-alpha-ergocryptine on days 5-6, but failed to block that caused by human choriogonadotropin on days 15-16 or by foetoplacental removal on day 18 of pregnancy. 5. These findings, and the control of progesterone synthesis in late pregnancy, are interpreted in terms of a sequence of hormonal or enzymic syntheses, each of which is inhibited by the product of the preceding synthesis. (+info)
Accumulation of caspase-3 messenger ribonucleic acid and induction of caspase activity in the ovine corpus luteum following prostaglandin F2alpha treatment in vivo.
Caspase-3, a vertebrate homologue of the protein encoded by the Caenorhabditis elegans cell death gene, ced-3, induces apoptosis when overexpressed in eukaryotic cells. Since apoptosis occurs during corpus luteum (CL) regression in many species, including the ewe, these studies were conducted to 1) isolate a cDNA encoding ovine caspase-3, 2) measure steady state amounts of caspase-3 mRNA in the CL during luteolysis induced by prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) and during the time of maternal recognition of pregnancy, and 3) measure changes in caspase activity during PGF2alpha-initiated luteal regression. Oligonucleotide primers corresponding to a human caspase-3 cDNA sequence were combined with total RNA from ovine CL in a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction-based procedure to amplify a 640-base pair partial cDNA with a nucleotide sequence 86% and 81% identical to the human and rat caspase-3 cDNAs, respectively. CL were collected from ewes at 0, 12, or 24 h after treatment with PGF2alpha on Day 10 of the estrous cycle and from nonpregnant and pregnant ewes on Day 12 or Day 14 of the cycle. Northern blot analysis of total cellular RNA from ovine CL and a radiolabeled ovine caspase-3 cRNA probe indicated the presence of a single mRNA transcript of approximately 2.5 kilobases. Levels of caspase-3 mRNA were approximately 3-fold higher (p < 0.05) in CL at 12 h and 24 h after PGF2alpha in comparison to those levels measured in matched CL from untreated ewes. There were no differences (p > 0.05) in amounts of caspase-3 mRNA in CL on Day 12 or Day 14 of the estrous cycle compared to Day 12 or Day 14 of pregnancy, respectively. Caspase activity in CL (measured by the ability of CL lysates to cleave an artificial caspase substrate) was also significantly (p < 0.05) increased in CL collected after treatment with PGF2alpha compared to CL collected from nontreated ewes. We conclude that physiological cell death during PGF2alpha-induced luteal regression in the ewe is mediated, at least in part, via increased expression and activity of the caspase family of pro-apoptotic proteases. (+info)
Angiotensin II interacts with prostaglandin F2alpha and endothelin-1 as a local luteolytic factor in the bovine corpus luteum in vitro.
Recent findings suggest that the ovarian renin-angiotensin system may regulate ovarian function through the paracrine/autocrine actions of angiotensin II (Ang II). In this study, we have examined and characterized the local effects of Ang II as a luteolytic factor and its interaction with prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) in the bovine corpus luteum (CL) of the mid-luteal phase, by using an in vitro microdialysis system (MDS). Ang II was detected in the MDS perfusate (4 pg/ml), and infusion of PGF2alpha (10(-6) M) for 2 h increased the Ang II release by 50-100% during the following experimental period, in addition to its stimulation of ET-1 release. Two 2-h infusions of Ang II (10(-7)-10(-5) M) separated by a 2-h interval induced a dose- and time-dependent decrease of progesterone (P4) release by 41-66%. When the luteal explants were pre-perfused with PGF2alpha (10(-6) M) for 2 h, two consecutive perfusions of Ang II (10(-6) M) at a 2-h interval rapidly reduced the P4 release (by 50%). This reduction occurred 6 h earlier than those of infusions of PGF2alpha or Ang II alone. The simultaneous infusion of either 1) Ang II (10(-6) M) with PGF2alpha (10(-6) M), 2) ET-1 (10(-7) M) with PGF2alpha, or 3) Ang II + ET-1 with PGF2alpha (10(-6) M) for 2 h also induced a rapid and pronounced (60%) decrease in P4 release. Perfusion with the Ang II antagonist blocked the P4-suppressing activity of Ang II alone or PGF2alpha + Ang II infusion. Ang II stimulated the release of ET-1 and oxytocin during infusion but inhibited them after infusion. These results show that Ang II is released in the bovine midcycle CL in vitro, and this peptide, either alone or together with PGF2alpha, can suppress the release of P4. As PGF2alpha directly stimulated Ang II release, Ang II may influence the critical period for starting the cascade of functional luteolysis in vivo and might lead to structural luteolysis with ET-1 as a major vasoconstrictor. The overall results suggest that Ang II may have an important role at luteolysis in the bovine CL. (+info)