Hormonal regulation of steroidogenic enzyme expression in granulosa cells during the peri-ovulatory interval in monkeys

C. L. Chaffin, G. A. Dissen, R. L. Stouffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Although progesterone plays an essential role in ovulation and the luteiniziation of the primate follicle, the expression of cellular components required for progesterone synthesis and their control is not well defined. This study was designed to determine the time course and gonadotrophin versus steroid regulation of the transcription of genes involved in progesterone synthesis in peri-ovulatory follicles. Granulosa cells or whole ovaries were obtained from macaques undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation either before (0 h) or up to 36 h following the administration of an ovulatory human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) bolus with or without a 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) inhibitor, with or without a non-metabolizable progestin. Granulosa cell concentrations of low density lipoprotein receptor (LDL-R) and steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR) mRNA increased transiently 12 h following HCG administration (P < 0.05) at which time steroid depletion tended to reduce StAR mRNA (P = 0.06). At 36 h post-HCG progesterone suppressed the LDL-R mRNA levels (P < 0.05). P450 side-chain cleavage (P450scc) mRNA decreased in a time-dependent fashion up to 24 h, whereas 3β-HSD mRNA increased within 12 h of HCG administration (P< 0.05) in a steroid-independent manner. Whole ovarian 17α-hydroxylase (P450c17) and granulosa cell P450 aromatase (P450arom) mRNA declined in a time-dependent fashion; by 36 h after HCG administration, steroid depletion increased P450arom mRNA, although progestin replacement did not return aromatase to control values (P < 0.05). These data demonstrate diverse patterns of steroidogenic enzyme expression that generally reflect the conversion of the macaque peri-ovulatory follicle from an oestrogen to progesterone producing gland. Although mRNAs associated with progesterone synthesis and metabolism are primarily regulated by gonadotrophins, cholesterol uptake and utilization may be modulated locally by steroids in luteinizing granulosa cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Human Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000


  • Granulosa cells
  • Luteinization
  • Macaque
  • Peri-ovulatory interval
  • Steroidogenic enzymes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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