An official journal of the Society for Biology of Reproduction and the Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences in Olsztyn
Elsevier

June 2014 (No. 2)

Ever-changing cell interactions during the life span of the corpus luteum: Relevance to luteal regression×

George W. Smith a, Rina Meidan b,*

a Laboratory of Mammalian Reproductive Biology and Genomics, Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA

b Department of Animal Sciences, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel

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Abstract

The corpus luteum (CL) undergoes dramatic morphological and functional changes through-out its lifespan. It initially develops from cells that remain in the follicle following ovulation. Eventually the mature CL is composed of multiple, distinctive cell types including steroido-genic cells (small and large luteal cells) and other cell types (endothelial cells, pericytes, fibroblasts, and immune cells). Robust angiogenesis accompanies CL formation, establishing an elaborate blood vessel network at mid cycle. In the absence of embryonic signals, the CL will regress in a process triggered by prostaglandin F2α (PG). Luteal demise in the responsive gland is characterized by cessation of steroid production, angio-regression, and apoptotic cell death, brought about by leukocyte infiltration, inflammatory responses, and diminished angiogenic support. However, the young immature CL is resistant or refractory to the luteolytic actions of PG. Evidence based on functional genomics and other studies highlight the roles played by endothelial, immune, and steroidogenic luteal cells and their interac-tions in the PG-responsive vs. PG-refractory CL.

Reproductive Biology 2014 14 2: 75-82.

× The material described in this review article was presented as an invited lecture at Ludwig Fraenkel Symposium „Endocrine Control of Corpus Luteum Function” in Wrocław, Poland (5–6 September, 2013).

* Corresponding author at: Department of Animal Sciences, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Herzl Street, Rehovot 76100, Israel. E-mail address: rina.meidan@mail.huji.ac.il (R. Meidan).