Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.)

Ovarian dendritic cells act as a double-edged pro-ovulatory and anti-inflammatory sword.

PMID 24825398


Ovulation and inflammation share common attributes, including immune cell invasion into the ovary. The present study aims at deciphering the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in ovulation and corpus luteum formation. Using a CD11c-EYFP transgenic mouse model, ovarian transplantation experiments, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting analyses, we demonstrate that CD11c-positive, F4/80-negative cells, representing DCs, are recruited to the ovary under gonadotropin regulation. By conditional ablation of these cells in CD11c-DTR transgenic mice, we revealed that they are essential for expansion of the cumulus-oocyte complex, release of the ovum from the ovarian follicle, formation of a functional corpus luteum, and enhanced lymphangiogenesis. These experiments were complemented by allogeneic DC transplantation after conditional ablation of CD11c-positive cells that rescued ovulation. The pro-ovulatory effects of these cells were mediated by up-regulation of ovulation-essential genes. Interestingly, we detected a remarkable anti-inflammatory capacity of ovarian DCs, which seemingly serves to restrict the ovulatory-associated inflammation. In addition to discovering the role of DCs in ovulation, this study implies the extended capabilities of these cells, beyond their classic immunologic role, which is relevant also to other biological systems.