Steroid hormone effects on the proliferation of human ovarian surface epithelium in vitro

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1995 Jul;173(1):97-104. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(95)90176-0.


Objective: The histologically bland-appearing epithelium of the human ovary is responsible for approximately 90% of ovarian cancers. Capitalizing on our ability to propagate this tissue in vitro, we have begun to characterize the steroid hormone responsiveness of the human ovarian surface epithelium.

Study design: Primary cultures of the human ovarian surface epithelium are characterized as normal epithelium on the basis of morphologic features, normal karyotype, and immunohistochemistry demonstrating AE1/AE3 cytokeratin positivity and factor VIII negativity. Estrogen and progestin receptors were quantitatively analyzed with a standard receptor-ligand binding assay. Cellular proliferation in response to 1 x 10(-7) mol/L 17 beta-estradiol, progesterone, dihydrotestosterone, and dexamethasone were assessed by means of cell counts and a tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay.

Results: Scatchard analyses identified 8.8 x 10(3) estrogen receptors per cell in the premenopausal human ovarian surface epithelium cells, whereas the postmenopausal cells were negative for estrogen receptors. A total of 3.2 to 13.0 x 10(3) progestin receptors per cell was identified, with variable progestin receptor expression in the postmenopausal cells. No significant effect on cell growth could be demonstrated as a result of any of the steroid hormones investigated under the study conditions.

Conclusions: Expression of estrogen and progestin receptors in human ovarian surface epithelium cells may be related to menopausal status. Steroid hormones, however, did not influence cell proliferation under these experimental conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / chemistry
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ovary / chemistry
  • Ovary / cytology*
  • Ovary / drug effects*
  • Postmenopause
  • Premenopause
  • Progesterone / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / analysis
  • Receptors, Progesterone / analysis


  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Progesterone
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Dexamethasone