To date, there have been no detailed studies on the lymphatic system in the primate corpus luteum (CL); early reports suggested that the presence of this "secondary circulation" in luteal tissue is species-dependant. Therefore, studies were designed to determine if (a) lymphatic vessels exist, and (b) recently discovered lymphangiogenic factors and their receptor are expressed in the macaque CL during the menstrual cycle. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) detected the lymphatic endothelial cell marker, lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE1), in some endothelial cells and vessels within the ovarian stroma and theca layer of preovulatory follicles and in the CL. Dual fluorescent IHC demonstrated that LYVE1 co-localized with another lymphatic endothelial cell marker D2-40, but a blood vascular endothelial cell marker (von Willebrand Factor, VWF) was in different cells. The numbers and staining intensity of LYVE1-positive cells in the CL appeared to increase from early to mid luteal phase, and remained elevated thereafter. RT-PCR detected cDNA fragments for mRNAs encoding VEGFC, FIGF, and their receptor FLT4 in CL. Real-time PCR analyses revealed similar patterns of VEGFC and FLT4 expression during the luteal lifespan; mRNA levels increased (p < 0.05) from early to mid luteal phase and decreased (p < 0.05) by late luteal phase. In contrast, FIGF levels were elevated initially, declined (p < 0.05) at mid luteal phase, and then increased (p < 0.05) to very late luteal phase. The data strongly suggest that lymphatic vessels are present in the primate CL, and that the VEGFC/FIGF-FLT4 system regulates lymphangiogenesis and luteal structure-function during the menstrual cycle.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine