Animal Reproduction (AR)
Animal Reproduction (AR)
Conference Paper

Comparison of endocrine and cellular mechanisms regulating the corpus luteum of primates and ruminants

M.C. Wiltbank, S.M. Salih, M.O. Atli, W. Luo, C.L. Bormann, J.S. Ottobre, C.M. Vezina, V. Mehta, F.J. Diaz, S.J. Tsai, R. Sartori

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The corpus luteum (CL) is a transient endocrine organ that is essential for maintenance of pregnancy in both ruminants and primates. The cellular and endocrine mechanisms that regulate the CL in these species have commonalities and some distinct and intriguing differences. Both species have similar cellular content with large luteal cells derived from the granulosa cells of the follicle, small luteal cells from follicular thecal cells, and large numbers of capillary endothelial cells that form the vasculature that has an essential role in optimal CL function. Intriguingly, the large luteal cells in ruminants grow larger than in primates and acquire a capacity for high constitutive progesterone (P4) production that is independent of stimulation from LH. In contrast, the primate CL and the granulosa lutein cells from primates continue to require stimulation by LH/CG throughout the luteal phase. Although the preovulatory follicle of women and cows had similar size and steroidogenic output (10 to 20 mg/h), the bovine CL had about ten-fold greater P4 output compared to the human CL (17.4 vs. 1.4 mg/h), possibly due to the development of high constitutive P4 output by the bovine large luteal cells. The continued dependence of the primate CL on LH/CG/cAMP also seems to underlie luteolysis, as there seems to be a requirement for greater luteotropic support in the older primate CL than is provided by the endogenous LH pulses. Conversely, regression of the ruminant CL is initiated by PGF from the nonpregnant uterus. Consequently, the short luteal phase in ruminants is primarily due to premature secretion of PGF by the nonpregnant uterus and early CL regression, whereas CL insufficiency in primates is related to inadequate luteotropic support and premature CL regression. Thus, the key functions of the CL, pregnancy maintenance and CL regression in the absence of pregnancy, are produced by common cellular and enzymatic pathways regulated by very distinct luteotropic and luteolytic mechanisms in the CL of primates and ruminants


corpus luteum, primate, progesterone, ruminant
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