Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) and their receptors (PDGFRs) play a vital role in regulating cell growth and angiogenesis. In this study, the expression of the family of PDGFs and PDGFRs in the ovarian corpus luteum were identified and characterized, and an effect of their activity on development of the corpus luteum revealed. Gonadotropin-stimulated immature rats were utilized as a model of induced ovulation, luteogenesis, and pseudopregnancy. Levels of ovarian mRNA for Pdgfb and Pdgfd, and their receptor, Pdgfrb, increased significantly as early as 4 h after human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection in immature rats primed with equine chorionic gonadotropin (eCG). Gonadotropin regulation of Pdgfb expression was confirmed by in vitro promoter-reporter assays, which showed a 2- to 3-fold increase in Pdgfb promoter activity in response to luteinizing hormone (LH). Inhibition studies implicated protein kinase A, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and mitogen activated protein kinase signaling pathways in the LH-induced upregulation. In the corpus luteum, PDGFA, PDGFB, PDGFC, and PDGFRA were localized to a population of luteal parenchymal/steroidogenic cells. PDGFRB was expressed primarily in what appeared to be cells of the luteal microvasculature. Intraovarian injection of an inhibitor of PDGF receptor activity, the tyrphostin AG1295, prior to injection of hCG in eCG-primed immature rats resulted in a significant 21.86% ± 11.15% decrease in corpora lutea per treated ovary in comparison to the contralateral vehicle-injected control ovary. In addition, the treated ovary of 3 of 16 rats showed widespread hemorrhage throughout the entire ovary, indicating a possible role for PDGF receptor activity in maintenance of the ovarian vasculature.
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Vol. 76 • No. 3