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Biol Reprod. 2011 Jan;84(1):26-33. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.110.084368. Epub 2010 Aug 25.

Effect of decreasing intraluteal progesterone on sensitivity of the early porcine corpus luteum to the luteolytic actions of prostaglandin F2alpha.

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Endocrinology-Reproductive Physiology Program and Department of Dairy Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF) causes luteolysis of the pig corpus luteum (CL) only after Day 12 of the estrous cycle. Recent evidence indicates that progesterone (P4) may protect the CL from cell death. The present study tested the hypothesis that acute inhibition of P4 by treatment with epostane (EPO; 3betaHSD inhibitor) in CL lacking luteolytic capacity (Day 9 CL) will allow PGF to induce responses associated with luteolysis. Multiple PGF-induced responses were evaluated, including genes involved in production of PGF and estradiol-17beta, apoptosis (caspase 3), and transcription (FOSB). These responses are associated with PGF-induced luteolysis and do not normally occur in CL lacking luteolytic capacity. Animals on Day 7 after estrus were divided into four groups: 1) control (C), 2) PGF, 3) EPO, and 4) PGF plus EPO (PGF+EPO). Treatment with EPO (10 mg/kg) or vehicle was given every 12 h for 36 h. Treatment with PGF (25 mg) or vehicle was given at 38 h, and CL were collected from all animals at 48 h. Some CL from each animal were frozen in liquid nitrogen for mRNA and protein analysis. Remaining CL were incubated in media for 2 h for determination of P4 and PGF production. EPO dramatically decreased production of P4 by luteal tissue (ng/mg tissue) by 90% and 95% in EPO and PGF+EPO groups, respectively, compared to C (P < 0.01). Low production of PGF by luteal tissue was found in C, PGF, and EPO groups; however, treatment with PGF+EPO dramatically increased (782%) luteal PGF production. Similar to intraluteal PGF production, increased mRNA for cyclooxygenase 2 (PTGS2) and phospholipase A2 (group IB; PLA2G1B) was found in the PGF+EPO, but not in the EPO or PGF, group. Aromatase (CYP19A1) mRNA was not induced by PGF or EPO; however, PGF+EPO caused a more than 40-fold increase in CYP19A1 mRNA (P < 0.01). CASP3 mRNA was increased (P < 0.01) by EPO (3.4-fold) and by PGF (2.7-fold) but was most dramatically increased by PGF+EPO (5.3-fold), whereas caspase activity was only increased by PGF (1.5-fold) or PGF+EPO (2.2-fold). Thus, these data support the hypothesis that elimination of the protective effect of intraluteal P4 does not directly cause luteolysis of the early CL but allows PGF to induce luteolytic responses in CL lacking luteolytic capacity.

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