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J Reprod Dev. 2004 Apr;50(2):215-25.

Withdrawal of ovarian steroids stimulates prostaglandin F2alpha production through nuclear factor-kappaB activation via oxygen radicals in human endometrial stromal cells: potential relevance to menstruation.

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Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Reproductive, Pediatric and Infectious Science, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Ube, Japan. sugino@yamaguchi-u.a.cjp


The present study was undertaken to investigate whether withdrawal of estrogen and progesterone (EP-withdrawal) stimulates prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) production through oxygen radical (ROS)-induced NF-kappaB activation in human endometrial stromal cells (ESC). To study the EP-withdrawal, ESC that had been treated with estradiol (E, 10(-8) M) and medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA, 10(-6) M) for 12 days were then incubated with or without E+MPA for a further 11 days. PGF2alpha concentrations in the medium and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA levels were significantly increased after EP-withdrawal, while they were unchanged by the continuous treatment with E+MPA. When ESC were incubated with N-acetyl-L-cysteine (Nac, 50 mM), an antioxidant, during EP-withdrawal, Nac blocked the increases in PGF2alpha production and COX-2 mRNA expression caused by EP-withdrawal. Next, we examined whether ROS generated in response to EP-withdrawal acted through NF-kappaB activation. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay revealed that EP-withdrawal caused marked increases in NF-kappaB DNA binding activity, which was completely suppressed by Nac. Furthermore, when ESC were incubated with MG132 (3 microM), which inhibits NF-kappaB activation, during EP-withdrawal, MG132 blocked the increases in PGF2alpha production and COX-2 mRNA expression caused by EP-withdrawal. In conclusion, EP-withdrawal stimulates COX-2 expression and PGF2alpha production through ROS-induced NF-kappaB activation, suggesting a possible mechanism for menstruation.

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