The enzyme glutathione reductase (GR) recycles oxidized glutathione (GSSG) by converting it to the reduced form (GSH) in an NADPH-dependent manner. A specific antibody raised against recombinant rat GR was used to localize the protein in the female reproductive organs during the estrous cycle in the rat. In the ovary, the strongest reactivity to the antibody was observed in oocytes, followed by granulosa cells, corpus luteum, and interstitial cells. A strongly positive reaction was also observed mainly in the oviduct epithelia, uterine epithelia, and endometrial gland in the reproductive tract. Oviducts contained the highest GR activity. The GR activity of uterus during metestrus was about twice as high as that for other stages of the cycle. The levels of GR proteins in the tissues roughly matched the activities. The expression of the GR mRNA was highest during metestrus. Because GSH is known to increase gamete viability and the efficiency of fertility, GR, which is expressed in these tissues, is predicted to play a pivotal role in the reproduction process as a source of GSH.
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