Article

In vitro growth and ovulation of follicles from ovaries of estrogen receptor (ER){alpha} and ER{beta} null mice indicate a role for ER{beta} in follicular maturation.

Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences/National Institutes of Health, MD B3-02, P.O. Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.
Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.64). 07/2005; 146(6):2817-26. DOI: 10.1210/en.2004-1108
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Both estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and beta are expressed within the ovary and lack of either of these receptors affects ovarian function. In this study, the role of ERalpha and ERbeta in folliculogenesis and ovulation was further analyzed. Evaluation of ovarian follicle populations in wild-type and ERbeta knockout (betaERKO) ovaries revealed reduced late antral growth and ovulatory capacity of betaERKO follicles, indicated by reduced numbers of large antral follicles and corpora lutea and increased atresia of large antral follicles. An in vitro culture system was used to study growth, rupture, and luteinization of wild-type, ERalpha knockout (alphaERKO) and betaERKO ovarian follicles. alphaERKO follicles exhibited wild-type-like growth and ovulation rates but an increased capacity to synthesize estradiol. In contrast, betaERKO follicles showed a significant lack of progression from early antral to large antral stage, decreased estradiol production, and reduced ovulation. Expression patterns of several genes involved in follicle maturation and ovulation were analyzed in follicles grown in vitro. Ar, Pgr, and Has2 mRNA expression levels were the same among the three genotypes. However, betaERKO follicles showed reduced expression of Cyp19 mRNA during follicle maturation and reduced Lhcgr and Ptgs2 mRNA expression after human chorionic gonadotropin stimulus. Luteinization occurs normally in alphaERKO and betaERKO follicles, shown by increased progesterone secretion and increased cdkn1b mRNA expression after human chorionic gonadotropin. Collectively, these data indicate that ERbeta, but not ERalpha, plays a direct role in folliculogenesis. ERbeta appears to facilitate follicle maturation from the early antral to the preovulatory stage.

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