Granulosa cells in the ovulatory follicle express messenger ribonucleic acid encoding vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), an agent that may mediate the neovascularization of the developing corpus luteum, but it is not known whether luteinizing granulosa cells synthesize and secrete VEGF during the periovulatory interval. Studies were designed to evaluate the effects of an in vivo gonadotropin surge on VEGF production by macaque granulosa cells (study 1) and to test the hypothesis that gonadotropins act directly on granulosa cells to regulate VEGF production (study 2). Monkeys received a regimen of exogenous gonadotropins to promote the development of multiple preovulatory follicles. Nonluteinized granulosa cells (i.e. preovulatory; NLGC) and luteinized granulosa cells (i.e. periovulatory; LGC) were aspirated from follicles before and 27 h after an ovulatory gonadotropin bolus, respectively. Cells were either incubated for 24 h in medium with or without 100 ng/mL hCG (study 1) or cultured for 6 days in medium with or without 100 ng/mL hCG or 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 ng/mL of recombinant human LH (r-hLH) or r- hFSH (study 2). Culture medium was assayed for VEGF and progesterone. In study 1, LGC produced 8-fold greater levels of VEGF than NLGC (899 ± 471 vs. 111 ± 26 pg/mL, mean ± SEM; P < 0.05). In vitro treatment with hCG increased (P < 0.05) VEGF production by NLGC to levels that were not different from the LGC incubated under control conditions. In vivo bolus doses of r-hCG (100 and 1000 IU) and r-hFSH (2500 IU) were equally effective in elevating granulosa cell VEGF production. In study 2, in vitro treatment with r-hFSH, r-hLH, and hCG markedly increased (P < 0.05) VEGF and progesterone production by the NLGC in a dose- and time-dependent manner. By comparison, the three gonadotropins (100 ng/mL dose) only modestly increased VEGF and progesterone production by LGC. These experiments demonstrate a novel role for the midcycle surge of gonadotropin (LH/CG or FSH) in primates to promote VEGF production by granulosa cells in the periovulatory follicle. Further, the data demonstrate that FSH-like as well as LH-like gonadotropins directly stimulate VEGF synthesis by granulosa cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical