The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology

The production of progesterone and 5,6-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid by human granulosa cells.

PMID 12361727


Previous investigations have implicated epoxygenase metabolites of arachidonic acid in the control of steroidogenesis in luteinised granulosa cells. The aim of this study was to assess this hypothesis further. We first determined the responsiveness of the cells in vitro to three different stimuli, namely luteinising hormone (LH), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), and dibutyryl cyclic AMP (db. cyclic AMP). Their effects were time-dependent, in that progesterone production from cells incubated for 3 days prior to stimulation responded strongly to db. cyclic AMP, to a lesser extent to LH and not to IL-1beta. After 6 days of preincubation, all three stimuli increased progesterone production, and this preincubation period was used in the remainder of the study.LH and IL-1beta increased the intracellular levels of 5,6-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (5,6-EpETrE) maximally after 10 min, whereas db. cyclic AMP had a more rapid effect within 2-5 min. There were no changes in levels of 14,15-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (14,15-EpETrE), indicating that the effect was specific. Levels of dihydroxy derivatives of arachidonic acid were also increased, suggesting rapid metabolism of 5,6-EpETrE to inactive 5,6-DiHETrE. The effects of 5,6-EpETrE on progesterone production were transient, which may be due to the lability of this compound in solution, and limited passage into the granulosa-luteal cell cytoplasm. These results support a role for 5,6-EpETrE in the production of progesterone by human granulosa-luteal cells.