Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) is a key intrafollicular mediator of ovulation in many, if not all, mammalian species. PGE2 acts at follicular cells via four distinct PGE2 receptors (PTGERs). Within the ovulatory follicle, each cell type (e.g., oocyte, cumulus granulosa cell, mural granulosa cell, theca cell, endothelial cell) expresses a different subset of the four PTGERs. Expression of a subset of PTGERs has consequences for the generation of intracellular signals and ultimately the unique functions of follicular cells that respond to PGE2. Just as the ovulatory LH surge regulates PGE2 synthesis, the LH surge also regulates expression of the four PTGERs. The pattern of expression of the four PTGERs among follicular cells before and after the LH surge forms a spatial and temporal map of PGE2 responses. Differential PTGER expression, coupled with activation of cell-specific intracellular signals, may explain how a single paracrine mediator can have pleotropic actions within the ovulatory follicle. Understanding the role of each PTGER in ovulation may point to previously unappreciated opportunities to both promote and prevent fertility.
Keywords: follicle; ovary; ovulation; prostaglandin; receptor.
© 2016 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.