The expression of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GNRH) receptor (GNRHR) and the direct role of GNRH1 on corpora lutea function were studied in Mediterranean buffalo during diestrus. Immunohistochemistry evidenced at early, mid, and late luteal stages the presence of GNRHR only in large luteal cells and GNRH1 in both small and large luteal cells. Real-time PCR revealed GNRHR and GNRH1 mRNA at the three luteal stages, with lowest values in late corpora lutea. In vitro corpora lutea progesterone production was greater in mid stages and lesser in late luteal phases, whereas prostaglandin F2 alpha (PGF2alpha) increased from early to late stages, and PGE2 was greater in the earlier-luteal phase. Cyclooxygenase 1 (prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 1; PTGS1) activity did not change during diestrus, whereas PTGS2 increased from early to late stages, and PGE2-9-ketoreductase (PGE2-9-K) was greater in late corpora lutea. PTGS1 activity was greater than PTGS2 in early corpora lutea and lesser in late luteal phase. In corpora lutea cultured in vitro, the GNRH1 analog (buserelin) reduced progesterone secretion and increased PGF2alpha secretion as well as PTGS2 and PGE2-9-K activities at mid and late stages. PGE2 release and PTGS1 activity were increased by buserelin only in late corpora lutea. These results suggest that GNRH is expressed in all luteal cells of buffalo, whereas GNRHR is only expressed in large luteal phase. Additionally, GNRH directly down-regulates corpora lutea progesterone release, with the concomitant increases of PGF2alpha production and PTGS2 and PGE2-9-K enzymatic activities.
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Vol. 87 • No. 2