Expression of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 in the primate ovary during induced luteal regression

W C Duncan, P J Illingworth, H M Fraser

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Although tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) is one of the major secretory products of the corpus luteum, the functional significance of this is not clear. In addition to its role as a specific inhibitor of the matrix metalloproteinase enzymes involved in tissue remodelling, it has recently been suggested that TIMP-1 is also a potent stimulator of steroidogenesis in vitro. However, in the ruminant, TIMP-1 expression increases during luteal regression. This study sought to determine (i) the effect of induced luteal regression on ovarian TIMP-1 expression in the primate and (ii) the expression of TIMP-1 in other steroidogenic and non-steroidogenic tissues. Marmoset ovaries were studied on day 10 of the normal luteal phase and 12 and 24 h after induced luteolysis, with either gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist or prostaglandin F2 alpha analogue. Ovaries from different stages of the normal ovarian cycle were also studied. Expression of TIMP-1 was investigated by isotopic in situ hybridisation. TIMP-1 expression was also examined in a wide range of other marmoset tissues by Northern blotting and in situ hybridisation. TIMP-1 was found to be highly expressed in the marmoset corpus luteum. Luteolysis induced with either prostaglandin F2 alpha or GnRH antagonist was associated with a significant fall in TIMP-1 expression in luteal tissue. TIMP-1 mRNA was also localised to ovarian follicles throughout the ovarian cycle. Expression occurred in the thecal layer of smaller follicles (< 1.5 mm) and the granulosal layer of larger pre-ovulatory follicles. In atretic follicles, TIMP-1 was highly expressed at the interface between the thecal and granulosal cells. TIMP-1 was found to be predominantly expressed in steroidogenic tissues, particularly the ovary, adrenal and placenta. These data support a role for changes in TIMP-1 expression in tissue remodelling in the ovary and are consistent with an additional function of TIMP-1 as a facilitator of steroidogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-13
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1996


  • Animals
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Callithrix
  • Cloprostenol
  • Corpus Luteum
  • Female
  • Follicular Atresia
  • Glycoproteins
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Granulosa Cells
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Luteolysis
  • Ovary
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Theca Cells
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases


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