Ovulatory Induction of SCG2 in Human, Nonhuman Primate, and Rodent Granulosa Cells Stimulates Ovarian Angiogenesis

Endocrinology. 2018 Jun 1;159(6):2447-2458. doi: 10.1210/en.2018-00020.


The luteinizing hormone (LH) surge is essential for ovulation, but the intrafollicular factors induced by LH that mediate ovulatory processes (e.g., angiogenesis) are poorly understood, especially in women. The role of secretogranin II (SCG2) and its cleaved bioactive peptide, secretoneurin (SN), were investigated as potential mediators of ovulation by testing the hypothesis that SCG2/SN is induced in granulosa cells by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), via a downstream LH receptor signaling mechanism, and stimulates ovarian angiogenesis. Humans, nonhuman primates, and rodents were treated with hCG in vivo resulting in a significant increase in the messenger RNA and protein levels of SCG2 in granulosa cells collected early during the periovulatory period and just prior to ovulation (humans: 12 to 34 hours; monkeys: 12 to 36 hours; rodents: 4 to 12 hours post-hCG). This induction by hCG was recapitulated in an in vitro culture system utilizing granulosa-lutein cells from in vitro fertilization patients. Using this system, inhibition of downstream LH receptor signaling pathways revealed that the initial induction of SCG2 is regulated, in part, by epidermal growth factor receptor signaling. Further, human ovarian microvascular endothelial cells were treated with SN (1 to 100 ng/mL) and subjected to angiogenesis assays. SN significantly increased endothelial cell migration and new sprout formation, suggesting induction of ovarian angiogenesis. These results establish that SCG2 is increased in granulosa cells across species during the periovulatory period and that SN may mediate ovulatory angiogenesis in the human ovary. These findings provide insight into the regulation of human ovulation and fertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Granulosa Cells / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / genetics*
  • Ovary / blood supply*
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Ovulation / genetics*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Secretogranin II / genetics*
  • Secretogranin II / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • Secretogranin II