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Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2012 Mar 29;10:25. doi: 10.1186/1477-7827-10-25.

Involvement of Src family of kinases and cAMP phosphodiesterase in the luteinizing hormone/chorionic gonadotropin receptor-mediated signaling in the corpus luteum of monkey.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.



In higher primates, during non-pregnant cycles, it is indisputable that circulating LH is essential for maintenance of corpus luteum (CL) function. On the other hand, during pregnancy, CL function gets rescued by the LH analogue, chorionic gonadotropin (CG). The molecular mechanisms involved in the control of luteal function during spontaneous luteolysis and rescue processes are not completely understood. Emerging evidence suggests that LH/CGR activation triggers proliferation and transformation of target cells by various signaling molecules as evident from studies demonstrating participation of Src family of tyrosine kinases (SFKs) and MAP kinases in hCG-mediated actions in Leydig cells. Since circulating LH concentration does not vary during luteal regression, it was hypothesized that decreased responsiveness of luteal cells to LH might occur due to changes in LH/CGR expression dynamics, modulation of SFKs or interference with steroid biosynthesis.


Since, maintenance of structure and function of CL is dependent on the presence of functional LH/CGR its expression dynamics as well as mRNA and protein expressions of SFKs were determined throughout the luteal phase. Employing well characterized luteolysis and CL rescue animal models, activities of SFKs, cAMP phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE) and expression of SR-B1 (a membrane receptor associated with trafficking of cholesterol ester) were examined. Also, studies were carried out to investigate the mechanisms responsible for decline in progesterone biosynthesis in CL during the latter part of the non-pregnant cycle.


The decreased responsiveness of CL to LH during late luteal phase could not be accounted for by changes in LH/CGR mRNA levels, its transcript variants or protein. Results obtained employing model systems depicting different functional states of CL revealed increased activity of SFKs [pSrc (Y-416)] and PDE as well as decreased expression of SR-B1 correlating with initiation of spontaneous luteolysis. However, CG, by virtue of its heroic efforts, perhaps by inhibition of SFKs and PDE activation, prevents CL from undergoing regression during pregnancy.


The results indicated participation of activated Src and increased activity of cAMP-PDE in the control of luteal function in vivo. That the exogenous hCG treatment caused decreased activation of Src and cAMP-PDE activity with increased circulating progesterone might explain the transient CL rescue that occurs during early pregnancy.

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