Estrogen promotes luteolysis by redistributing prostaglandin F2α receptors within primate luteal cells

Reproduction. 2015 May;149(5):453-64. doi: 10.1530/REP-14-0412. Epub 2015 Feb 16.


Prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) has been proposed as a functional luteolysin in primates. However, administration of PGF2α or prostaglandin synthesis inhibitors in vivo both initiate luteolysis. These contradictory findings may reflect changes in PGF2α receptors (PTGFRs) or responsiveness to PGF2α at a critical point during the life span of the corpus luteum. The current study addressed this question using ovarian cells and tissues from female cynomolgus monkeys and luteinizing granulosa cells from healthy women undergoing follicle aspiration. PTGFRs were present in the cytoplasm of monkey granulosa cells, while PTGFRs were localized in the perinuclear region of large, granulosa-derived monkey luteal cells by mid-late luteal phase. A PTGFR agonist decreased progesterone production in luteal cells obtained at mid-late and late luteal phases, but did not decrease progesterone production by granulosa cells or luteal cells from younger corpora lutea. These findings are consistent with a role for perinuclear PTGFRs in functional luteolysis. This concept was explored using human luteinizing granulosa cells maintained in vitro as a model for luteal cell differentiation. In these cells, PTGFRs relocated from the cytoplasm to the perinuclear area in an estrogen- and estrogen receptor-dependent manner. Similar to our findings with monkey luteal cells, human luteinizing granulosa cells with perinuclear PTGFRs responded to a PTGFR agonist with decreased progesterone production. These data support the concept that PTGFR stimulation promotes functional luteolysis only when PTGFRs are located in the perinuclear region. Estrogen receptor-mediated relocation of PTGFRs within luteal cells may be a necessary step in the initiation of luteolysis in primates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Dinoprost / pharmacology
  • Estrogens / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Granulosa Cells / drug effects
  • Granulosa Cells / metabolism
  • Granulosa Cells / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Luteal Cells / drug effects
  • Luteal Cells / metabolism
  • Luteal Cells / pathology*
  • Luteolysis / drug effects
  • Luteolysis / physiology*
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Progesterone / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / genetics
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Estrogens
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Prostaglandin
  • prostaglandin F2alpha receptor
  • Progesterone
  • Dinoprost