Expression of gap junctional connexins 26, 32, and 43 mRNA in ovarian preovulatory follicles and corpora lutea in sheep

Ewa Borowczyk, Mary Lynn Johnson, Jerzy J Bilski, Pawel P Borowicz, Dale A Redmer, Lawrence P Reynolds, Anna T Grazul-Bilska
Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 2006, 84 (10): 1011-20
The objective of the current study was to evaluate the expression of connexins (Cx)26, Cx32, and Cx43 mRNA in granulosa and theca cells during the peri-ovulatory period (experiment 1) and in the corpus luteum (CL) during the estrous cycle (experiment 2) and during prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF)-induced luteal regression (experiment 3) in FSH-treated ewes. In experiment 1, Cx26, Cx32, and Cx43 mRNA was expressed in granulosa and theca cells, and expression of Cx32 and Cx43 mRNA, but not Cx26, was greater (p<0.001) in granulosa than in theca cells throughout the peri-ovulatory period. Expression of Cx43 mRNA in granulosa and theca cells decreased (p<0.01) 24 h after hCG treatment. In experiment 2, expression of Cx26 mRNA in the CL tended to be greater (p<0.06) on day 10 than on days 5 or 15, but expression of Cx43 mRNA was greater (p<0.01) on day 5 than on days 10 and 15 of the estrous cycle. In experiment 3, expression of Cx26, but not Cx32 or Cx43 mRNA decreased (p<0.001) during PGF-induced luteal regression. In all 3 experiments, expression of Cx32 mRNA was much less than Cx26 and Cx43 mRNA. Moreover, Cx32 mRNA expression was unchanged during the peri-ovulatory period or during several stages of luteal development and PGF-induced regression of the CL. Thus, we have shown that the mRNA expression pattern of Cx26 and Cx43 changes during peri-ovulatory period and during several stages of the luteal development. This suggests that Cx26 and Cx43 play a role in ovarian tissue remodeling during the critical time around ovulation and throughout luteal tissue growth, differentiation, and regression in sheep.

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