Progesterone receptor messenger ribonucleic acid in the primate corpus luteum during the menstrual cycle: Possible regulation by progesterone

Diane M. Duffy, Richard L. Stouffer

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    52 Scopus citations


    In classical target tissues, progesterone (P) down-regulates its own receptor, yet in the primate corpus luteum, progesterone receptors (PRs) exist within a very high local P milieu. The percentage of luteal cells staining PR-positive by immunocytochemistry is highest at the midluteal phase of the menstrual cycle during the period of peak serum P. To investigate the regulation of luteal PRs, we developed a solution hybridization/ribonuclease protection assay for the analysis of PR messenger RNA (mRNA) in macaque corpora lutea (n = 3-4/group). A 332-basepair fragment of the macaque PR complementary DNA corresponding to the hormone-binding region was used as a template for riboprobe production; the specific hybridization of this riboprobe with PR mRNA was confirmed with Northern analysis. P regulation of luteal PR mRNA was investigated by administering trilostane, a 3β- hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitor, to female rhesus macaques beginning on day 6 or 7 of the luteal phase, which reduced serum P until the time of lutectomy. By 18 h after trilostane treatment, luteal PR mRNA levels were significantly elevated compared to untreated control values (mean ± SEM, 2.0 ± 0.4 vs. 0.7 ± 0.3; P < 0.05). Reduction in P levels for 4 days after trilostane administration decreased luteal PR mRNA levels compared with control values (0.50 ± 0.02 vs. 1.1 ± 0.2; P < 0.05). To characterize changes in PR mRNA during the lifespan of the corpus luteum, mRNA levels in luteal tissues from the early, mid-, mid-late, and late luteal phases were determined. PR mRNA levels were lowest during the early luteal phase and increased (P < 0.05) 3-fold by the mid-late luteal phase; this higher PR mRNA level was maintained throughout the remainder of the luteal phase. These data indicate that P or a metabolite may acutely regulate primate luteal PR mRNA in a manner consistent with PR regulation in classical P target tissues. In contrast, PR mRNA levels parallel increases in P and PR-positive luteal cells during the early, mid-, and mid-late portions of the luteal phase. High PR mRNA levels are maintained during luteal regression as P and the percentage of PR-positive cells decline, suggesting that PR and PR mRNA are regulated in an asynchronous manner during the lifespan of the corpus luteum in the menstrual cycle.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1869-1876
    Number of pages8
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1995

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Endocrinology


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