Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A gene expression in human ovaries is restricted to healthy follicles and corpora lutea

Ariel Hourvitz, Amy E. Widger, Fabio Lopes Teixeira Filho, R. Jeffrey Chang, Eli Y. Adashi, Gregory F. Erickson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recently, Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein-A (PAPP-A) in human follicular fluid was identified as an insulin-like growth factor binding protein-4 protease (IGFBP-4ase). The ability of IGFBP-4ase to inactivate the FSH antagonist, IGFBP-4, has suggested a possible role for PAPP-A in regulating FSH action. Despite growing interest in this protease, the question of whether the PAPP-A gene is expressed in ovaries of normal cycling women is unknown. To fill this basic gap in our knowledge, we have identified the cellular sites of PAPP-A gene expression in normal human ovaries by in situ hybridization. PAPP-A mRNA was low or undetectable in preantral follicles, small (1 - 2mm) healthy and atretic antral follicles, larger atretic antral follicles, surface epithelium, tunica albuginea and connective tissue cells. In contrast, an intense PAPP-A hybridization signal was evident in the healthy antral follicles examined from 5mm to the preovulatory stage. In these follicles, the signal was restricted to the granulosa cells (GC). An intense signal for PAPP-A mRNA was also present in healthy corpora lutea (CL), being localized to a subset of large luteal cells. Collectively, these results provide the first evidence that the gene encoding PAPP-A is expressed in ovaries of normal cycling women and show that the gene is expressed almost exclusively in healthy GC and CL cells. The restricted pattern of PAPP-A expression in normal human ovaries suggests that PAPP-A may be a functional marker of the dominant follicle and its product, the CL. Although the physiological function of ovarian PAPP-A remains to be identified, we hypothesize it might play a role in controlling survival, growth, and/or differentiation of the dominant follicle and CL by inactivating the gonadotropin antagonist, IGFBP-4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4916-4919
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Volume85
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

Funding

FundersFunder number
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human DevelopmentR01HD030288

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