Although steroids play a local role(s) in ovulation and luteinization of the primate follicle, the dynamics of steroid receptor expression during the 36- to 38-h periovulatory interval has yet to be elucidated. The present study examines the regulation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for progesterone (PR), androgen (AR), and estrogen (ERα, ERβ) receptors as well as the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in macaque granulosa cells during controlled ovarian stimulation cycles before (0 h) and after (up to 36 h) administration of the ovulatory hCG bolus with or without steroid depletion and progestin replacement. All steroid receptor mRNAs were detected in granulosa cells before the ovulatory stimulus, as determined by RT-PCR. PR mRNA increased (P < 0.05) by 12 h after hCG; 24 and 36 h after hCG, levels were intermediate between 0-12 h. PR mRNA was reduced by steroid depletion throughout the periovulatory interval (P < 0.05); however, progestin replacement returned PR mRNA to control levels at 12 h. AR mRNA increased (P < 0.05) at 24 h post-hCG and remained at this level 36 h after hCG; steroid depletion did not alter AR mRNA levels. ERα mRNA did not change, whereas ERβ decreased 12-36 h after the ovulatory stimulus (P < 0.05). Steroid depletion reduced ERα mRNA 12 h after hCG, an effect partially reversible by progestin replacement, whereas ERβ mRNA was not affected by steroids. AhR mRNA was undetectable before the administration of hCG, but increased by 12 h (P < 0.05). These data demonstrate hCG-initiated, steroid-dependent (PR, ERα) and -independent (AR, ERβ, AhR) expression of receptor mRNAs in primate granulosa cells during the periovulatory interval. Differences in patterns of expression may relate to diverse roles for steroid hormones and AhR ligands in periovulatory events.
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