The rapid growth of the corpus luteum (CL) after ovulation is believed to be mainly due to an increase in the size of luteal cells (hypertrophy) rather than an increase in their number. However, the relationship between luteal growth and the proliferation of luteal steroidogenic cells (LSCs) is not fully understood. One goal of the present study was to determine whether LSCs proliferate during CL growth. A second goal was to determine whether luteinizing hormone (LH), which is known have roles in the proliferation and differentiation of follicular cells, also affects the proliferation of LSCs. Ki-67 (a cell proliferation marker) was expressed during the early, developing and mid luteal stages and some Ki-67-positive cells co-expressed HSD3B (a steroidogenic marker). DNA content in LSCs isolated from the developing CL increased much more rapidly (indicating rapid growth) than did DNA content in LSCs isolated from the mid CL. The cell cycle-progressive genes CCND2 (cyclin D2) and CCNE1 (cyclin E1) mRNA were expressed more strongly in the small luteal cells than in the large luteal cells. LH decreased the rate of increase of DNA in LSCs isolated from the mid luteal stage but not in LSCs from the developing stage. LH suppressed CCND2 expression in LSCs from the mid luteal stage but not from the developing luteal stage. Furthermore, LH receptor (LHCGR) mRNA expression was higher at the mid luteal stage than at the developing luteal stage. The overall results suggest that the growth of the bovine CL is due to not only hypertrophy of LSCs but also an increase in their number, and that the proliferative ability of luteal steroidogenic cells decreases between the developing and mid luteal stages.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)