Ovulatory dysfunction occurs in women with endometriosis, yet the mechanisms are unknown. We have shown that endometriotic lesions synthesize and secrete tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) 1 into the peritoneal cavity in humans and a rat model of endometriosis, where excess TIMP1 localizes in the ovarian theca in endometriosis and modulating peritoneal TIMP1 alters ovarian dynamics. Here, we evaluated whether mechanisms whereby excessive peritoneal fluid TIMP1 negatively impacts ovarian function are matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-dependent and/or MMP-independent actions. Rats were treated with a mutated TIMP1 without MMP inhibitory function (Ala-TIMP1), wild-type TIMP1 (rTIMP1), or PBS. Rats treated with Ala-TIMP1 or rTIMP1 had fewer antral follicles, fewer new corpora lutea, and the presence of luteinized unruptured follicle syndrome compared with PBS rats. Ala-TIMP1 and rTIMP1 differentially caused downstream changes in gene expression and protein localization related to ovulation, as measured by whole-genome microarray with quantitative real-time PCR validation and immunohistochemistry. More vascular endothelial growth factor and FN were expressed and localized in ovaries of Ala-TIMP1-treated rats compared to rTIMP1- and PBS-treated rats inferring MMP-independent functions. Less caspase 3 localized in ovaries of rTIMP1 compared with the other two groups, and was thus dependent on MMP action. Furthermore, after coimmunoprecipitation, more CD63 was bound to TIMP1 in ovaries of rats treated with Ala-TIMP1 than in rTIMP1-treated rats, providing evidence for another MMP-independent mechanism of ovulatory dysfunction. We predict that MMP-dependent and MMP-independent events are involved in improper fortification of the follicular wall through multiple mechanisms, such as apoptosis inhibition, extracellular matrix components and angiogenesis. Collectively, excessive peritoneal TIMP1 causes changes in ovarian dynamics, both dependently and independently of MMP inhibition.
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Vol. 86 • No. 2