[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The high mortality rate caused by ovarian cancer has not changed for the past thirty years. Although most patients diagnosed with this disease respond to cytoreductive surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy and undergo remission, foci of cells almost always escape therapy, manage to survive, and acquire the capacity to repopulate the tumor. Repopulation of ovarian cancer cells that escape front-line chemotherapy, however, is a poorly understood phenomenon. Here I analyze cancer-initiating cells, transitory senescence, reverse ploidy, and cellular dormancy as putative players in ovarian cancer cell repopulation. Under standard of care, ovarian cancer patients do not receive treatment between primary cytotoxic therapy and clinical relapse; understanding the mechanisms driving cellular escape from chemotherapy should lead to the development of low toxicity, chronic treatment approaches that can be initiated right after primary therapy to interrupt cell repopulation and disease relapse by keeping it dormant and, therefore, subclinical.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Changes in cell shape and plasticity in cytoskeletal dynamics are critically involved in cell adhesion, migration, invasion and the overall process of metastasis. Previous work in our laboratory demonstrated that the synthetic steroid mifepristone inhibited the growth of highly metastatic cancer cells, while simultaneously causing striking changes in cellular morphology. Here we assessed whether such morphological alterations developed in response to cytostatic concentrations of mifepristone are reversible or permanent, involve rearrangement of cytoskeletal proteins, and/or affect the adhesive capacity of the cells. METHODS: Cancer cell lines of the ovary (SKOV-3), breast (MDA-MB-231), prostate (LNCaP), and nervous system (U87MG) were exposed to cytostatic concentrations of mifepristone and studied by phase-contrast microscopy. The transient or permanent nature of the cytostasis and morphological changes caused by mifepristone was assessed, as well as the rearrangement of cytoskeletal proteins. De-adhesion and adhesion assays were utilized to determine if mifepristone-arrested and morphologically dysregulated cells had abnormal de-adhesion/adhesion dynamics when compared to vehicle-treated controls. RESULTS: Mifepristone-treated cells displayed a long, thin, spindle-like shape with boundaries resembling those of loosely adhered cells. Growth arrest and morphology changes caused by mifepristone were reversible in SKOV-3, MDA-MB-231 and U87MG, but not in LNCaP cells that instead became senescent. All cancer cell types exposed to mifepristone displayed greatly increased actin ruffling in association with accelerated de-adhesion from the culture plate, and delayed adhesion capacity to various extracellular matrix components. CONCLUSIONS: Cytostatic concentrations of mifepristone induced alterations in the cellular structure of a panel of aggressive, highly metastatic cancer cells of different tissues of origin. Such changes were associated with re-distribution of actin fibers that mainly form non-adhesive membrane ruffles, leading to dysregulated cellular adhesion capacity.
BMC Cancer 01/2013; 13(1):35. · 3.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Whether prolactin (PRL) has a luteotrophic or luteolytic effect in the rat ovary depends on the nature of the corpora lutea present in the ovaries and the hormonal environment to which they are exposed. The aim was to investigate the effect of PRL acting on the coeliac ganglion (CG) on the function of the corpora lutea on day 4 postpartum under either lactating or non-lactating conditions, using the CG-superior ovarian nerve-ovary system. The ovarian release of progesterone (P), estradiol, PGF2α, and nitrites was assessed in the ovarian compartment at different incubation times. Luteal mRNA expression of 3β-HSD, 20α-HSD, aromatase, PGF2α receptor, iNOS, Bcl-2, Bax, Fas and FasL was analysed in the corpus luteum of pregnancy at the end of the experiments. Comparative analysis of control groups showed that the ovarian release of P, nitrites, and PGF2α, the expression of PGF2α receptor, and the Bcl-2/Bax ratio were lower in non-lactating rats, with increased release of estradiol, and higher expression of aromatase, Fas and FasL, demonstrating the higher luteal functionality in ovaries of lactating animals. PRL added to the CG compartment increased the ovarian release of P, estradiol, nitrites and PGF2α, and decreased the Bcl-2/Bax ratio in non-lactating rats; yet, with the exception of a reduction in the release of nitrites, such parameters were not modified in lactating animals. Together, these data suggest that the CG is able to respond to the effect of PRL and, via a neural pathway, fine-tune the physiology of the ovary under different hormonal conditions.
General and Comparative Endocrinology 01/2013; · 2.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that the antiprogestin and antiglucocorticoid mifepristone inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells. In this work, we hypothesized that cellular stress caused by mifepristone is limited to cytostasis and that cell killing is avoided as a consequence of the persistent activity of the PI3K/Akt survival pathway.To investigate the role of this pathway in mifepristone-induced growth inhibition, human ovarian cancer cells of various histological subtypes and genetic backgrounds were exposed to cytostatic doses of mifepristone in the presence or absence of the PI3K inhibitor, LY294002. The activation of Akt in ovarian cancer cells, as marked by its phosphorylation on Ser473, was not modified by cytostatic concentrations of mifepristone, but it was blocked upon treatment with LY294002. The combination mifepristone/LY294002, but not the individual drugs, killed ovarian cancer cells via apoptosis, as attested by genomic DNA fragmentation and cleavage of caspase-3, and the concomitant down-regulation of anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and XIAP. From a pharmacological standpoint, when assessing cell growth inhibition using a median-dose analysis algorithm, the interaction between mifepristone and LY294002 was synergistic. The lethality caused by the combination mifepristone/LY294004 in two dimensional cell cultures was recapitulated in organized, tri-dimensional spheroids. This study demonstrates that mifepristone and LY294002, when used individually, cause cell growth arrest, yet when combined, they cause lethality.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advanced ovarian cancer is treated with cytoreductive surgery and combination platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapy. Although most patients have acute clinical response to this strategy, the disease ultimately recurs. In this work we questioned whether the synthetic steroid mifepristone, which as monotherapy inhibits the growth of ovarian cancer cells, is capable of preventing repopulation of ovarian cancer cells if given after a round of lethal cisplatin-paclitaxel combination treatment.
We established an in vitro approach wherein ovarian cancer cells with various sensitivities to cisplatin or paclitaxel were exposed to a round of lethal doses of cisplatin for 1 h plus paclitaxel for 3 h. Thereafter, cells were maintained in media with or without mifepristone, and short- and long-term cytotoxicity was assessed.
Four days after treatment the lethality of cisplatin-paclitaxel was evidenced by reduced number of cells, increased hypodiploid DNA content, morphological features of apoptosis, DNA fragmentation, and cleavage of caspase-3, and of its downstream substrate PARP. Short-term presence of mifepristone either enhanced or did not modify such acute lethality. Seven days after receiving cisplatin-paclitaxel, cultures showed signs of relapse with escaping colonies that repopulated the plate in a time-dependent manner. Conversely, cultures exposed to cisplatin-paclitaxel followed by mifepristone not only did not display signs of repopulation following initial chemotherapy, but they also had their clonogenic capacity drastically reduced when compared to cells repopulating after cisplatin-paclitaxel.
Cytostatic concentrations of mifepristone after exposure to lethal doses of cisplatin and paclitaxel in combination blocks repopulation of remnant cells surviving and escaping the cytotoxic drugs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is evidence suggesting that estradiol (E(2)) regulates the physiology of the ovary and the sympathetic neurons associated with the reproductive function. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of E(2) on the function of late pregnant rat ovaries, acting either directly on the ovarian tissue or indirectly via the superior ovarian nerve (SON) from the celiac ganglion (CG). We used in vitro ovary (OV) or ex vivo CG-SON-OV incubation systems from day 21 pregnant rats. Various concentrations of E(2 )were added to the incubation media of either the OV alone or the ganglion compartment of the CG-SON-OV system. In both experimental schemes, we measured the concentration of progesterone in the OV incubation media by radioimmunoassay at different times. Luteal messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) and 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD) enzymes, respectively, involved in progesterone synthesis and catabolism, and of antiapoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and proapoptotic Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax), were measured by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) at the end of the incubation period. Estradiol added directly to the OV incubation or to the CG of the CG-SON-OV system caused a decline in the concentration of progesterone accumulated in the incubation media. In addition, E(2), when added to the OV incubation, decreased the expression of 3β-HSD and the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax. We conclude that through a direct effect on the OV, E(2) favors luteal regression at the end of pregnancy in rats, in association with neural modulation from the CG via the SON.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mifepristone (MIF) administration to cycling rats at proestrus induces hypersecretion of prolactin (PRL) at the following estrus. We aimed to assess whether this effect is due to the antiprogesterone or antiglucocorticoid action of MIF and to help underscore the nature of the circulating hormone(s) regulating PRL secretion at estrus. Female cycling rats in proestrus were treated with vehicle; the progesterone (Pg) and glucocorticoid receptor antagonists, MIF (5 mg/kg) or ORG-33628 (5 mg/kg); the glucocorticoid agonist dexamethasone (DEX; 27 mg/kg)±MIF; or the inhibitor of steroid synthesis aminoglutethimide (AG; 150 mg/kg)±MIF. The animals' blood was sampled the same day at 1800 h and at 1800 h of the following day to assess for circulating PRL and Pg levels. To distinguish antiglucocorticoid from antiprogesterone effects of MIF, we administered a highly specific neutralizing antibody against Pg. None of the antagonists modified serum PRL values at proestrus but increased PRL levels at estrus. DEX decreased the secretion of PRL at proestrus, yet the effect was entirely blocked by MIF. Furthermore, DEX decreased PRL at estrus in a MIF-reversible manner, suggesting that adrenal corticoids during proestrous may regulate PRL secretion at estrus. AG increased PRL secretion at estrus, whereas its association with MIF produced an even higher response. PRL concentration at estrus was not modified by the antiprogesterone antibody, suggesting that the effect of MIF is a consequence of its antiglucocorticoid effect and not due to its antiprogesterone properties. In conclusion, PRL secretion in the afternoon of the estrus is most likely regulated by glucocorticoids through an inhibitory action.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mifepristone (MF) has been largely used in reproductive medicine due to its capacity to modulate the progesterone receptor (PR). The study of MF has been expanded to the field of oncology; yet it remains unclear whether the expression of PR is required for MF to act as an anti-cancer agent. Our laboratory has shown that MF is a potent inhibitor of ovarian cancer cell growth. In this study we questioned whether the growth inhibitory properties of MF observed in ovarian cancer cells would translate to other cancers of reproductive and non-reproductive origin and, importantly, whether its efficacy is related to the expression of cognate PR.
Dose-response experiments were conducted with cancer cell lines of the nervous system, breast, prostate, ovary, and bone. Cultures were exposed to vehicle or increasing concentrations of MF for 72 h and analysed for cell number and cell cycle traverse, and hypodiploid DNA content characteristic of apoptotic cell death. For all cell lines, expression of steroid hormone receptors upon treatment with vehicle or cytostatic doses of MF for 24 h was studied by Western blot, whereas the activity of the G1/S regulatory protein Cdk2 in both treatment groups was monitored in vitro by the capacity of Cdk2 to phosphorylate histone H1.
MF growth inhibited all cancer cell lines regardless of tissue of origin and hormone responsiveness, and reduced the activity of Cdk2. Cancer cells in which MF induced G1 growth arrest were less susceptible to lethality in the presence of high concentrations of MF, when compared to cancer cells that did not accumulate in G1. While all cancer cell lines were growth inhibited by MF, only the breast cancer MCF-7 cells expressed cognate PR.
Antiprogestin MF inhibits the growth of different cancer cell lines with a cytostatic effect at lower concentrations in association with a decline in the activity of the cell cycle regulatory protein Cdk2, and apoptotic lethality at higher doses in association with increased hypodiploid DNA content. Contrary to common opinion, growth inhibition of cancer cells by antiprogestin MF is not dependent upon expression of classical, nuclear PR.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androstenedione can affect luteal function via a neural pathway in the late pregnant rat. Here, we investigate whether androstenedione is capable of opposing to regression of pregnancy corpus luteum that occurs after parturition, indirectly, from the coeliac ganglion. Thus, androstenedione was added into the ganglionar compartment of an ex vivo coeliac ganglion-superior ovarian nerve-ovary system isolated from non-lactating rats on day 4 postpartum. At the end of incubation, we measured the abundance of progesterone, androstenedione and oestradiol released into the ovarian compartment. Luteal mRNA expression and activity of progesterone synthesis and degradation enzymes, 3β-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) and 20α-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase (20α-HSD), respectively, as well as the aromatase, Bcl-2, Bax, Fas and FasL transcript levels, were also determined. Additionally, we measured the ovarian release of norepinephrine, nitric oxide and luteal inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA expression. The presence of androstenedione in the ganglion compartment significantly increased the release of ovarian progesterone, androstenedione and oestradiol without modifying 3β-HSD and 20α-HSD activities or mRNA expression. The ovarian release of oestradiol in response to the presence of androstenedione in the ganglion compartment declined with time of incubation in accord with a reduction in the aromatase mRNA expression. Androstenedione added to the ganglion compartment decreased FasL mRNA expression, without affecting luteal Bcl-2, Bax and Fas transcript levels; also increased the release of norepinephrine, decreased the release of nitric oxide and increased iNOS mRNA. In summary, on day 4 after parturition, androstenedione can mediate a luteotropic effect acting at the coeliac ganglion and transmitting to the ovary a signaling via a neural pathway in association with increased release of norepinephrine, decreased nitric oxide release, and decreased expression of FasL.
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 03/2011; 125(3-5):243-50. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antiprogestins have been largely utilized in reproductive medicine, yet their repositioning for oncologic use is rapidly emerging. In this study we investigated the molecular mediators of the anti-ovarian cancer activity of the structurally related antiprogestins RU-38486, ORG-31710 and CDB-2914. We studied the responses of wt p53 OV2008 and p53 null SK-OV-3 cells to varying doses of RU-38486, ORG-31710 and CDB-2914. The steroids inhibited the growth of both cell lines with a potency of RU-38486 > ORG-31710 > CDB-2914, and were cytostatic at lower doses but lethal at higher concentrations. Antiprogestin-induced lethality associated with morphological features of apoptosis, hypodiploid DNA content, DNA fragmentation, and cleavage of executer caspase substrate PARP. Cell death ensued despite RU-38486 caused transient up-regulation of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2, ORG-31710 induced transient up-regulation of inhibitor of apoptosis XIAP, and CDB-2914 up-regulated both XIAP and Bcl-2. The antiprogestins induced accumulation of Cdk inhibitors p21(cip1) and p27(kip1) and increased association of p21(cip1) and p27(kip1) with Cdk-2. They also promoted nuclear localization of p21(cip1) and p27(kip1), reduced the nuclear abundances of Cdk-2 and cyclin E, and blocked the activity of Cdk-2 in both nucleus and cytoplasm. The cytotoxic potency of the antiprogestins correlated with the magnitude of the inhibition of Cdk-2 activity, ranging from G1 cell cycle arrest towards cell death. Our results suggest that, as a consequence of their cytostatic and lethal effects, antiprogestin steroids of well-known contraceptive properties emerge as attractive new agents to be repositioned for ovarian cancer therapeutics.
Investigational New Drugs 03/2011; 30(3):967-80. · 3.50 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Repopulation of cancer cells escaping lethal chemotherapy is a critical factor hindering treatment success. One strategy to inhibit tumor cell repopulation is the use of cytostatic compounds between courses of lethal chemotherapy. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that mifepristone (MF), a steroid compound with demonstrated growth inhibition activity in ovarian cancer, should be efficacious in inducing cytostasis and preventing repopulation of ovarian cancer cells if given among rounds of cisplatin (CDDP) treatment. We established an in vitro approach wherein ovarian cancer cells with high (OV2008) or low (SK-OV-3) sensitivity to CDDP were exposed to 3 (OV2008) or 2 (SK-OV-3) rounds of lethal doses of CDDP for 1 h, 12 (OV2008) or 24 (SK-OV-3) days apart. Every 4 or 8 days cell number, cell viability, cell cycle traverse, and colony-forming capacity of viable cells was analyzed. Although CDDP killed the vast majority of cells, there were remnant cells escaping CDDP lethality and repopulating the culture, as evidenced by increased cell number, improved clonogenic capacity of viable cells, and normalization of DNA synthesis. Conversely, when cells were exposed to CDDP for 1 h, and 5, 10 or 20 microM MF was present in the culture medium after CDDP removal, the number, clonogenic capacity, and DNA synthesis ability of the cells were reduced in a dose-dependent manner. The blockage by MF of post-CDDP repopulation was accompanied by a remarkable increase in the percentage of cells expressing the cell death marker cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and the mitotic marker phospho-histone H3, suggesting that MF also potentiated CDDP lethality and that the cells likely die due to mitotic failure. In summary, this is the first study reporting that presence of cytostatic concentrations of MF after courses of lethal doses of CDDP prevents repopulation of remnant ovarian cancer cells surviving CDDP treatment.
International Journal of Oncology 04/2009; 34(3):743-55. · 2.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prototypical antiprogestin mifepristone exhibits potent growth inhibition activity towards ovarian cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The aim of this research was to establish whether mifepristone is capable of inhibiting cell proliferation and inducing apoptotic cell death regardless of the degree of sensitivity ovarian cancer cells exhibit to cisplatin.
OV2008, OV2008/C13, A2780, A2780/CP70, Caov-3, and SK-OV-3 cell lines exhibiting a range of sensitivities to cisplatin were used. Growth inhibition, cell viability, and sub-diploid DNA content in response to treatment with escalating doses of either mifepristone or cisplatin were assessed by microcapillary cytometry. Apoptotic cell death was evaluated by measuring genomic DNA fragmentation and cleavage of caspase-3 and poly (ADP ribose) polymerase (PARP).
The sensitivities to cisplatin manifested by the cell lines were OV2008 > A2780 > Caov-3 > SK-OV-3 > OV2008/C13 > A2780/CP70. Mifepristone inhibited the growth of all six cell lines in a dose-related manner with IC50s ranging from ~6-12 muM and without significant correlation with the relative sensitivities the cells displayed for cisplatin. Moreover, at the highest concentration studied, mifepristone triggered apoptotic death in all six cell lines as evidenced by the increase in sub-diploid fragmented DNA content and cleavage of caspase-3 and of its downstream substrate PARP.
Mifepristone is cytotoxic towards ovarian cancer cells independent of the sensitivity exhibited by the cells to cisplatin, displaying cytostatic effects at lower concentrations and lethal effects at higher concentrations. Mifepristone monotherapy emerges as a valuable therapeutic alternative for platinum-resistant ovarian cancers.
Cancer Cell International 02/2009; 9:4. · 2.09 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: These studies were designed to determine whether the synthetic steroid mifepristone inhibits ovarian cancer growth in vitro and in vivo and the molecular mechanisms involved.
The effect of mifepristone on ovarian cancer cell growth in vitro was studied in ovarian cancer cell lines of different genetic backgrounds (SK-OV-3, Caov-3, OV2008, and IGROV-1). In addition, the growth inhibition capacity of mifepristone on ovarian carcinoma xenografts was tested in nude mice.
Mifepristone inhibited ovarian cancer cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The cytostatic effect of mifepristone was confirmed in a clonogenic survival assay and was not linked to loss of viability. Mifepristone blocked DNA synthesis, arrested the cell cycle at the G(1)-S transition, up-regulated cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors p21(cip1)and p27(kip1), down-regulated transcription factor E2F1, decreased expression of the E2F1-regulated genes cdk1 (cdc2) and cyclin A, and modestly decreased cdk2 and cyclin E levels. The abrupt arrest in cell growth induced by mifepristone correlated with reduced cdk2 activity, increased association of cdk2 with p21(cip1) and p27(kip1), increased nuclear localization of the cdk inhibitors, and reduced nuclear abundance of cdk2 and cyclin E. In vivo, mifepristone significantly delayed the growth of ovarian carcinoma xenografts in a dose-dependent manner and without apparent toxic effects for the animals.
These preclinical studies show that mifepristone is effective as a single agent in vitro and in vivo, inhibiting the growth of human epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Mifepristone markedly reduces cdk2 activity likely due to increased association of cdk2 with the cdk inhibitors p21(cip1) and p27(kip1) and reduced nuclear cdk2/cyclin E complex availability. Acting as a cytostatic agent, mifepristone promises to be of translational significance in ovarian cancer therapeutics.
Clinical Cancer Research 07/2007; 13(11):3370-9. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The corpus luteum (CL) is one of the few endocrine glands that forms from the remains of another organ and whose function and survival are limited in scope and time. The CL is the site of rapid remodeling, growth, differentiation, and death of cells originating from granulosa, theca, capillaries, and fibroblasts. The apparent raison d'etre of the CL is the production of progesterone, and all the structural and functional features of this gland are geared toward this end. Because of its unique importance for successful pregnancies, the mammals have evolved a complex series of checks and balances that maintains progesterone at appropriate levels throughout gestation. The formation, maintenance, regression, and steroidogenesis of the CL are among the most significant and closely regulated events in mammalian reproduction. During pregnancy, the fate of the CL depends on the interplay of ovarian, pituitary, and placental regulators. At the end of its life span, the CL undergoes a process of regression leading to its disappearance from the ovary and allowing the initiation of a new cycle. The generation of transgenic, knockout and knockin mice and the development of innovative technologies have revealed a novel role of several molecules in the reprogramming of granulosa cells into luteal cells and in the hormonal and molecular control of the function and demise of the CL. The current review highlights our knowledge on these key molecular events in rodents.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The corpus luteum is an endocrine gland whose limited lifespan is hormonally programmed. This debate article summarizes findings of our research group that challenge the principle that the end of function of the corpus luteum or luteal regression, once triggered, cannot be reversed. Overturning luteal regression by pharmacological manipulations may be of critical significance in designing strategies to improve fertility efficacy.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 02/2006; 4:53. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the control of ovarian production of steroid hormones is mainly of endocrine nature, there is increasing evidence that the nervous system also influences ovarian steroidogenic output. The purpose of this work was to study whether the celiac ganglion modulates, via the superior ovarian nerve, the anti-steroidogenic effect of LH in the rat ovary. Using mid- and late-pregnant rats, we set up to study: 1) the influence of the noradrenergic stimulation of the celiac ganglion on the ovarian production of the luteotropic hormone androstenedione; 2) the modulatory effect of noradrenaline at the celiac ganglion on the anti-steroidogenic effect of LH in the ovary; and 3) the involvement of catecholaminergic neurotransmitters released in the ovary upon the combination of noradrenergic stimulation of the celiac ganglion and LH treatment of the ovary.
The ex vivo celiac ganglion-superior ovarian nerve-ovary integrated system was used. This model allows studying in vitro how direct neural connections from the celiac ganglion regulate ovarian steroidogenic output. The system was incubated in buffer solution with the ganglion and the ovary located in different compartments and linked by the superior ovarian nerve. Three experiments were designed with the addition of: 1) noradrenaline in the ganglion compartment; 2) LH in the ovarian compartment; and 3) noradrenaline and LH in the ganglion and ovarian compartments, respectively. Rats of 15, 19, 20 and 21 days of pregnancy were used, and, as an end point, the concentration of the luteotropic hormone androstenedione was measured in the ovarian compartment by RIA at various times of incubation. For some of the experimental paradigms the concentration of various catecholamines (dihydroxyphenylalanine, dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline) was also measured in the ovarian compartment by HPLC.
The most relevant result concerning the action of noradrenaline in the celiac ganglion was found on day 21 of pregnancy resulting in the inhibition of androstenedione release from the ovarian compartment. In addition on day 15 of pregnancy, LH placed in the ovarian compartment led to an inhibition of the release of androstenedione, and this inhibitory effect was further reinforced by the joint action of noradrenaline in the celiac ganglion and LH in the ovary. The levels of catecholamines in the ovarian compartment showed differences among the experiments; of significance, the joint treatment of noradrenaline in the celiac ganglion and LH in the ovary resulted in a remarkable increase in the ovarian levels of noradrenaline and adrenaline when compared to the effect achieved by either one of the compounds added alone.
Our results demonstrate that the noradrenergic stimulation of the celiac ganglion reinforces the LH-induced inhibition of androstenedione production by the ovary of late pregnant rats, and that this effect is associated with marked changes in the release of catecholamines in the ovary.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 02/2006; 4:66. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The corpus luteum is a transient endocrine gland specializing in the production of progesterone. The regression of the corpus luteum involves an abrupt decline in its capacity for producing progesterone followed by its structural involution, which is associated with apoptosis of the luteal cells. An in vitro experimental approach is needed to study the molecular mechanisms underlying hormonal regulation of luteal cell death under defined experimental conditions. In this study, we investigated simian virus-40-transformed luteal cells to determine whether they can be driven to apoptosis and, if so, to define the intracellular pathway involved. Luteal cells were cultured in the presence or absence of fetal bovine serum for 24 or 48 h. Under serum starvation conditions, the luteal cells underwent growth arrest accompanied by cell death as evaluated by dye exclusion, and confirmed by two-color fluorescence cell viability/cytotoxicity assay. We next studied whether serum starvation-induced death of luteal cells occurred by apoptosis. Morphologic features of apoptosis were observed in cells stained with hematoxylin after being subjected to serum starvation for 48 h. The apoptotic nature was further confirmed by in situ 3'-end labeling and fragmentation of genomic DNA. Apoptosis of serum-deprived luteal cells was dependent upon caspase activation. Serum starvation induced cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), suggesting that caspase-3 had been activated under the stress of withdrawal of growth factors. This was confirmed by cleavage of full-length procaspase-3. Finally, the fact that serum starvation promoted the cleavage of full-length procaspase-9 and the decrease in the expression of endogenous Bid, a BH-3-only proapoptotic protein of the Bcl-2 family, indicates that the intrinsic (i.e., mitochondrial) pathway of apoptosis was activated. In summary, we have characterized an in vitro experimental model of luteal cell death that can be utilized to evaluate the role of hormones in apoptosis of luteal cells under defined culture conditions, and to study the mechanism of luteal regression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In pregnant rats, structural luteal regression takes place after parturition and is associated with cell death by apoptosis. We have recently shown that the hormonal environment is responsible for the fate of the corpora lutea (CL). Changing the levels of circulating hormones in post-partum rats, either by injecting androgen, progesterone, or by allowing dams to suckle, was coupled with a delay in the onset of apoptosis in the CL. The objectives of the present investigation were: i) to examine the effect of exogenous estradiol on apoptosis of the rat CL during post-partum luteal regression; and ii) to evaluate the post-partum luteal expression of the estrogen receptor (ER) genes.
In a first experiment, rats after parturition were separated from their pups and injected daily with vehicle or estradiol benzoate for 4 days. On day 4 post-partum, animals were sacrificed, blood samples were taken to determine serum concentrations of hormones, and the ovaries were isolated to study apoptosis in situ. In a second experiment, non-lactating rats after parturition received vehicle, estradiol benzoate or estradiol benzoate plus bromoergocryptine for 4 days, and their CL were isolated and used to study apoptosis ex vivo. In a third experiment, we obtained CL from rats on day 15 of pregnancy and from non-lactating rats on day 4 post-partum, and studied the expression of the messenger RNAs (mRNAs) encoding the ERalpha and ERbeta genes.
Exogenous administration of estradiol benzoate induced an increase in the number of apoptotic cells within the CL on day 4 post-partum when compared with animals receiving vehicle alone. Animals treated with the estrogen had higher serum prolactin and progesterone concentrations, with no changes in serum androstenedione. Administration of bromoergocryptine blocked the increase in serum prolactin and progesterone concentrations, and DNA fragmentation induced by the estrogen treatment. ERalpha and ERbeta mRNAs were expressed in CL of day 4 post-partum animals at levels similar to those found in CL of day 15 pregnant animals.
We have established that estradiol accelerates apoptosis in the CL during post-partum luteal regression through a mechanism that possibly involves the secretion of pituitary prolactin. We have also shown that the post-partum rat CL express ERalpha and ERbeta mRNAs suggesting that they can be targeted by estrogen.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 02/2005; 3:40. · 2.14 Impact Factor