Progesterone is a suppressor of apoptosis in bovine luteal cells

Kiyoshi Okuda, Anna Korzekwa, Masami Shibaya, Shuko Murakami, Ryo Nishimura, Miki Tsubouchi, Izabela Woclawek-Potocka, Dariusz J. Skarzynski

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84 Citations (Scopus)


Progesterone is suggested to be a suppressor of apoptosis in bovine luteal cells. Fas antigen (Fas) is a cell surface receptor that triggers apoptosis in sensitive cells. Furthermore, apoptosis is known to be controlled by the bcl-2 gene/protein family and caspases. This study was undertaken to determine whether intraluteal progesterone (P4) is involved in Fas L-mediated luteal cell death in the bovine corpus luteum (CL) in vitro. Moreover, we studied whether an antagonist of P4 influences gene expression of the bcl-2 family and caspase-3 and the activity of caspase-3 in the bovine CL. Luteal cells obtained from the cows in the midluteal phase of the estrous cycle (Days 8-12 of the cycle) were exposed to a specific P4 antagonist (onapristone [OP], 10-4 M) with or without 100 ng/ml Fas L. Although Fas L alone did not show a cytotoxic effect, treatment of the cells with OP alone or in combination with Fas L resulted in killing of 30% and 45% of the cells, respectively (P < 0.05). DNA fragmentation was observed in the cells treated with Fas L in the presence of OP. The inhibition of P4 action by OP increased the expression of Fas mRNA (P < 0.01); however, it did not affect bax or bcl-2 mRNA expression (P > 0.05). Moreover, OP stimulated expression of caspase-3 mRNA (P < 0.01). The overall results indirectly show that intraluteal P4 suppresses apoptosis in bovine luteal cells through the inhibition of Fas and caspase-3 mRNA expression and inhibition of caspase-3 activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2065-2071
Number of pages7
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


  • Apoptosis
  • Corpus luteum
  • Fas-Fas ligand
  • Progesterone
  • bcl-2 gene family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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