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A Estevez, T Tognetti, CG Luchetti, V Sander and AB Motta

Corpus luteum regression has been described in terms of: (i) functional luteolysis - a reversible decline in serum progesterone concentration; and (ii) structural luteolysis - irreversible morphological changes and tissue remodelling events within the cellular membrane. In rats, PGF(2alpha) and interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) are involved in structural luteolysis, PGF(2alpha) by increasing ovarian lipid peroxidation, and IL-1beta by reducing progesterone and increasing PGF(2alpha) concentrations. The aim of the present report was to determine whether by an early action IL-1beta is able to regulate functional luteolysis. Thus, ovarian explants from rats at the mid-stage of corpus luteum development were incubated during short periods with either 15 or 25 ng IL-1beta ml(-1). At 15 ng ml(-1), IL-1beta inhibited progesterone after 4 and 8 h of culture without affecting PGF(2alpha) production, and a longer incubation (21 h) was needed to increase PGF(2alpha) production. In contrast, IL-1beta enhanced PGF(2alpha) concentrations at 8 h only at the higher dose (25 ng ml(-1)). The observed reduction in progesterone synthesis at the lower dose of IL-1beta before the increase in PGF(2alpha) concentrations led to the hypothesis that IL-1beta regulates functional luteolysis (progesterone diminution) before it affects structural luteolysis (PGF(2alpha) increase). The fact that the early IL-1beta action was described at 4 h but no effects on inducible nitric oxide synthase and inducible cyclooxygenase expression were found before this time led to the suggestion that these inductions were not necessary for the early IL-1beta action described.

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AB Motta, A Estevez, A Franchi, S Perez-Martinez, M Farina, ML Ribeiro, A Lasserre and MF Gimeno

Corpus luteum regression is related to an increased generation of reactive oxygen species. Although several studies indicate that PGF(2alpha) is involved in regression of the corpus luteum in mammalian species through an increase in reactive oxygen species, the exact mechanism remains unknown. In the present study, the relationship between nitric oxide and PGF(2alpha) in regulation of lipid peroxidation was studied. Ovarian tissue from pseudopregnant rats at mid- (day 5) or late phase or at the time of regression (day 9 of pseudopregnancy) of corpus luteum development was used. Thiobarbituric acid reactants, used as a lipid peroxidation index, were higher on day 9 of pseudopregnancy than on day 5. In contrast, glutathione content (an antioxidant metabolite) was lower on day 9 than on day 5 of pseudopregnancy. These results indicate that there was an enhanced oxidative status in ovarian tissue during luteolysis. Administration of N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME: 600 micromol l(-1)), a competitive nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor, led to a decrease in basal thiobarbituric acid reactant content in ovarian tissue from rats on day 9 of pseudopregnancy only, indicating that during regression of the corpus luteum, NO could act as intermediary in ovarian lipid peroxidation. Administration of a luteolytic dose (3 microg kg(-1) body weight i.p.) of a synthetic PGF(2alpha) increased thiobarbituric acid reactant content in ovaries from rats on day 9 of pseudopregnancy. As this effect was reversed partially by L-NAME, it is proposed that during regression of corpora lutea, PGF(2alpha) and NO are involved in regulation of lipid peroxidation. As this effect was only reversed partially, it is possible that there is another mechanism involving PGF(2alpha) (but not the NO-NOS pathway) in regulation of ovarian lipid peroxidation. Furthermore, the administration of PGF(2alpha) enhanced ovarian NOS activity, whereas cyclooxygenase inhibition (by indomethacin treatment in vivo) reduced it. As western blotting of ovarian homogenates obtained from PGF(2alpha)-injected rats increased inducible NOS (iNOS) content, it is concluded that PGF(2alpha) enhances both activity and synthesis of NO in rat ovarian tissues during luteolysis. Taken together, these results indicate that in ovaries with regressing corpora lutea, both NO and PGF(2alpha) are involved in part in regulation of lipid peroxidation.