PROBLEM: To determine whether macrophages in human reproductive tissues contain luteinizing hormone (LH)/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) receptor mRNA and receptor protein that can bind 125I-hCG.
METHOD OF STUDY: Macrophages isolated from term pregnancy human decidua were used for LH/hCG receptor detection by in situ hybridization for receptor mRNA and immunocytochemistry for a macrophage marker, CD68, performed alone and in combination, reverse transcription-nested polymerase chain reaction, Western and ligand blotting. The LH/hCG receptor presence in macrophages in late luteal phase human endometria and corpora lutea was determined by sequential performance of in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry.
RESULTS: The macrophages present in term pregnancy human decidua and late luteal phase human endometria and corpora lutea contain LH/hCG receptors.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first demonstration of macrophages present in human reproductive tissues containing LH/hCG receptors. The receptor presence suggests that LH and hCG may regulate macrophage functions in gonadal as well as in non-gonadal target tissues.