The factors regulating the dynamic expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and their tissue inhibitors (TIMPs) in the primate corpus luteum (CL) during the menstrual cycle are unknown. We hypothesized that LH or progesterone (P) regulate interstitial-collagenase (MMP-1), the gelatinases (MMP-2 and -9), TIMP-1, and TIMP-2 in the CL. Hormone ablation/replacement was performed in rhesus monkeys on Days 9–11 of the luteal phase in five treatment groups (n = 4/group): control (no treatment), antide (GnRH antagonist), antide LH; antide LH trilostane (TRL; 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitor), and antide LH TRL R5020 (nonmetabolizable progestin). On Day 12, the CL was removed and the RNA and protein isolated for real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunoassays, respectively. The MMP-1 mRNA increased 20-fold with antide, whereas LH replacement maintained MMP-1 mRNA at control levels. Likewise, TRL increased MMP-1 mRNA 54-fold, and R5020 prevented this effect. Immunodetectable MMP-1 protein also increased with antide or TRL; these increases were abated with LH or R5020. Gelatinase mRNA and/or protein levels increased with antide (e.g., 3-fold, MMP-2 mRNA), and LH replacement reduced protein levels (e.g., 11-fold, MMP-2). The TRL increased MMP-9, but not MMP-2, expression; however, R5020 replacement had no effect on mRNA or protein levels. The LH treatment increased TIMP-1 and -2 mRNA and TIMP-1 protein expression compared to controls and antide groups, whereas R5020 enhanced only immunodetectable TIMP-1. These data strongly suggest that LH suppresses MMP-1 in the primate CL via P and that it also suppresses gelatinases, either at the mRNA (MMP-2) or protein (MMP-2 and -9) levels, perhaps in part via steroids, including P. In contrast, LH promotes TIMP expression, perhaps via steroids, including P.
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