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Abstract

Members of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-receptor (R) family may be involved in the tissue remodeling that occurs in the primate corpus luteum (CL) during development and regression. As a first step towards addressing this issue, studies assessed TNF ligand-R expression and regulation in CL collected from monkeys during the early (ECL, Days 3–5), mid (MCL, Days 7–8), mid-late (MLCL, Days 10–11), late (LCL, Days 14–16), and very late (VLCL, menses) luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. CL were also collected after gonadotropin and/or steroid ablation and replacement (with hLH and the progestin R5020) for 3 days at mid-late luteal phase. TNF-α, -β, FAS ligand (FASL), and TNF-R1 mRNA levels were two- to sixfold greater (P < 0.05) at the MLCL or LCL phase as compared to earlier (ECL, MCL). In contrast, TNF-R2 and FAS mRNA levels did not change during the luteal phase. Immunohistochemical staining for TNF-β, TNF-R1, TNF-R2, FAS, and FASL was observed in luteal cells, whereas only TNF-β staining was observed in endothelial cells. Several TNF-R components were influenced by LH and/or steroid ablation; notably, steroid ablation reduced (P < 0.05) luteal TNF-α, but not TNF-β, mRNA levels, which was prevented by progestin treatment. In contrast, steroid ablation increased (P < 0.05) luteal cell immunostaining for FAS and FASL, which was reduced by progestin treatment. Thus, several members of the TNF R-ligand family are expressed in the primate CL in an LH- and/or progestin-dependent manner. Peak expression in the late luteal phase may signify a role for the TNF-R system in death receptor-mediated apoptosis during luteolysis. Mol. Reprod. Dev. 76: 367–378, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.