Adverse influence of coumestrol on secretory function of bovine luteal cells in the first trimester of pregnancy



Coumestrol is one of a few biologically active substances present in leguminous plants, which are widely used as fodder for ruminants. Depending on the doses, coumestrol acts on the reproductive processes as an estrogen-like factor or antiestrogen to evoke a decrease in ovulation frequency, elongation of estrous cycle duration. The aim of the current investigations was to study the influence of coumestrol on secretory function of luteal cells obtained from first trimester of pregnant cows. Luteal cells (2.5 × 105/mL) from 3rd to 5th, 6th to 8th, and 9th to 12th week of pregnancy were preincubated for 24 h and incubated with coumestrol (1 × 10−6 M) for successive 48 h and the medium concentrations of progesterone (P4), oxytocin (OT), prostaglandin (PG) E2 and F2α were determined. Moreover, the expression of mRNA for neurophysin-I/oxytocin (NP-I/OT; precursor of OT) and peptidyl-glycine-α-amidating mono-oxygenase (PGA, an enzyme responsible for post-translational OT synthesis) was determined after 8 h of treatment. Coumestrol did not affect P4 secretion but increased the secretion of OT from the cells collected at all stages of gestation studied. Hence, the ratio of P4 to OT was markedly decreased. Simultaneously, coumestrol increased the expression of NP-I/OT mRNA during 9th to 12th weeks of pregnancy, and mRNA for PGA during 3rd to 5th and 9th to 12th weeks of gestation. Furthermore, coumestrol decreased PGE2 secretion from luteal cells in all studied stages of pregnancy, while it affected PGF2α metabolite (PGFM) concentration only from week 3 to 5 of pregnancy. Obtained results suggest that coumestrol impairs secretory function of the corpus luteum (CL) and this way it can affect the maintenance of pregnancy in the cow. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol, 2013.