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Mol Hum Reprod. 1997 Jul;3(7):569-78.

Immunohistochemical localization of the LH/HCG receptor in human ovary: HCG enhances cell surface expression of LH/HCG receptor on luteinizing granulosa cells in vitro.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Japan.


We examined the immunohistochemical localization of luteinizing hormone (LH)/human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) receptor (LH-R) in the human ovary using the anti-human LH-R monoclonal antibody, 3B5. In the antral follicles, LH-R was detected on theca interna cells. In pre-ovulatory follicles, granulosa cells also expressed LH-R. During corpus luteum formation, granulosa cells seemed to increase the expression of LH-R, and in corpus luteum of mid-luteal phase, large luteal cells expressed LH-R more intensely than small luteal cells. In the regressing corpus luteum, LH-R was almost undetectable on both luteal cells, whereas in the corpus luteum of early pregnancy, LH-R continued to be expressed on large luteal cells. The granulosa cells obtained from the patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization therapy were cultured for 3 days in serum-free medium, without or with HCG (10 IU/ml) and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)alpha (10 ng/ml). Flow cytometry showed that the expression of LH-R on the cell surface of luteinizing granulosa cells was enhanced by HCG, but was unaffected by TNFalpha. These results suggest that the main target cells for LH/HCG change from theca interna cells/small luteal cells to granulosa cells/large luteal cells during ovulation, corpus luteum formation, and differentiation into the corpus luteum of pregnancy, probably under the influence of LH/HCG.

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