Knockdown of progesterone receptor (PGR) in macaque granulosa cells disrupts ovulation and progesterone production

Cecily V. Bishop, Jon D. Hennebold, Christoph A. Kahl, Richard L. Stouffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Adenoviral vectors (vectors) expressing short-hairpin RNAs complementary to macaque nuclear progesterone (P) receptor PGR mRNA (shPGR) or a nontargeting scrambled control (shScram) were used to determine the role PGR plays in ovulation/luteinization in rhesus monkeys. Nonluteinized granulosa cells collected from monkeys (n=4) undergoing controlled ovarian stimulation protocols were exposed to either shPGR, shScram, or no virus for 24 h; human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was then added to half of the wells to induce luteinization (luteinized granulosa cells [LGCs]; n = 4-6 wells/treatment/ monkey). Cells/media were collected 48, 72, and 120 h postvector for evaluation of PGR mRNA and P levels. Addition of hCG increased (P < 0.05) PGR mRNA and medium P levels in controls. However, a time-dependent decline (P < 0.05) in PGR mRNA and P occurred in shPGR vector groups. Injection of shPGR, but not shScram, vector into the preovulatory follicle 20 h before hCG administration during controlled ovulation protocols prevented follicle rupture in five of six monkeys as determined by laparoscopic evaluation, with a trapped oocyte confirmed in three of four follicles of excised ovaries. Injection of shPGR also prevented the rise in serum P levels following the hCG bolus compared to shScram (P < 0.05). Nuclear PGR immunostaining was undetectable in granulosa cells from shPGR-injected follicles, compared to intense staining in shScram controls. Thus, the nuclear PGR appears to mediate P action in the dominant follicle promoting ovulation in primates. In vitro and in vivo effects of PGR knockdown in LGCs also support the hypothesis that P enhances its own synthesis in the primate corpus luteum by promoting luteinization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2016


  • Luteinization
  • Ovulation
  • PGR
  • Progesterone
  • shRNA
  • siRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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