Prostaglandin E2 (EP) receptors mediate PGE2-specific events in ovulation and luteinization within primate ovarian follicles

Endocrinology. 2014 Apr;155(4):1466-75. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-2096. Epub 2014 Feb 7.


Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a key mediator of ovulation. All 4 PGE2 receptors (EP receptors) are expressed in the primate follicle, but the specific role of each EP receptor in ovulatory events is poorly understood. To examine the ovulatory events mediated via these EP receptors, preovulatory monkey follicles were injected with vehicle, the PG synthesis inhibitor indomethacin, or indomethacin plus PGE2. An ovulatory dose of human chorionic gonadotropin was administered; the injected ovary was collected 48 hours later and serially sectioned. Vehicle-injected follicles showed normal ovulatory events, including follicle rupture, absence of an oocyte, and thickening of the granulosa cell layer. Indomethacin-injected follicles did not rupture and contained oocytes surrounded by unexpanded cumulus; granulosa cell hypertrophy did not occur. Follicles injected with indomethacin plus PGE2 were similar to vehicle-injected ovaries, indicating that PGE2 restored the ovulatory changes inhibited by indomethacin. Additional follicles were injected with indomethacin plus an agonist for each EP receptor. EP1, EP2, and EP4 agonists each promoted aspects of follicle rupture, but no single EP agonist recapitulated normal follicle rupture as seen in follicles injected with either vehicle or indomethacin plus PGE2. Although EP4 agonist-injected follicles contained oocytes in unexpanded cumulus, the absence of oocytes in EP1 agonist- and EP2 agonist-injected follicles suggests that these EP receptors promote cumulus expansion. Surprisingly, the EP3 agonist did not stimulate any of these ovulatory changes, despite the high level of EP3 receptor expression in the monkey follicle. Therefore, agonists and antagonists selective for EP1 and EP2 receptors hold the most promise for control of ovulatory events in women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / chemistry
  • Cumulus Cells / cytology
  • Dinoprostone / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / cytology
  • Granulosa Cells / pathology
  • Haplorhini
  • Hypertrophy
  • Indomethacin / chemistry
  • Luteinization / drug effects*
  • Macaca
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Ovarian Follicle / metabolism*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Ovulation / drug effects*
  • Ovulation / physiology*
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E / metabolism*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin E
  • Dinoprostone
  • Indomethacin