2-Methoxyestradiol (2-ME) is an estradiol metabolite with antiangiogenic and antitumor activity. It is formed by granulosa cell (GC) catechol-O-methyltransferase activity and is present in the normal follicle at high concentrations. In this unique microenvironment, it may regulate selected cell types via autocrine and/or paracrine action. To assess the possibility that 2-ME or estradiol might exert differential mitotic and/or apoptotic effects on endothelial cells and GCs, we compared their actions on primary cultures of hormone- and/or growth factor-stimulated porcine GCs (pGCs) as well as two types of endothelial cells, primary cultures of porcine endothelial cells (pECs), and a spontaneously transformed rabbit endothelial vascular cell (REVC) line. The 2-ME, but not estradiol, dose dependently suppressed tritiated thymidine (3H-T) incorporation into epidermal growth factor (EGF)-stimulated REVCs and EGF/insulin (INS)-stimulated pECs. In contrast, 2-ME did not attenuate incorporation in FSH/INS-stimulated pGCs. It reduced incorporation by approximately 50% in EGF/INS-stimulated pGCs, indicating that responsiveness to 2-ME in normal cells can be modulated by hormone and growth factor treatment. Estradiol was not antimitotic to pGCs. As indicated by 4′,6-diamido-2-phenylindole hydrochloride nuclear staining, estradiol was nonapoptotic in either cell type, and 2-ME significantly increased apoptosis of REVCs, but not of pGCs. In a cell migration assay, REVC movement was attenuated by 2-ME, but not by estradiol. In summary, the results show that antimitotic as well as proapoptotic responses to 2-ME vary with cell type and, in the case of pGC antimitotic activity, with the regulatory microenvironment. Thus, they provide a rationale for autocrine and/or paracrine action of 2-ME at its site of production in vivo, and they strongly support the concept of 2-ME as a candidate ovarian angiogenesis inhibitor.
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