In the corpus luteum, prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α) appears to be a physiological agent with both antisteroidogenic and luteolytic actions. It is hypothesized that the antisteroidogenic action of PGF2α acts through altered transport of cholesterol to the mitochondrial cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc). However, the effect of PGF2α on the expression of the putative cholesterol transport protein, sterol carrier protein-2 (SCP2; 13.2 kilodaltons), has not been examined. In this study, the decline in serum progesterone after PGF2α injection was examined in parallel with altered ovarian SCP2, P450scc, and 3 β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 β HSD) protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels. Rats (28 days old) were treated with 8 IU PMSG to induce follicular development and ovulation. Ten days after ovulation, animals were treated with PGF2α (single or multiple injections; 100-250 micrograms each) or left untreated. Ovarian SCP2, P450scc, and 3 β HSD protein and mRNA levels were examined 0 (time zero), 4, and 8 h post-PGF2α treatment using Western and Northern blot analysis. SCP2 mRNA levels were also examined using a highly sensitive ribonuclease protection assay that detects a 429-base pair SCP2-mRNA specific sequence. The results indicate that serum progesterone was significantly reduced 4 and 8 h after PGF2α injections (P < 0.001; n = 6/time point). The decline in progesterone paralleled a 50-60% reduction in 3 β HSD protein and mRNA levels by 4 h post-PGF2α. Protein and mRNA levels for 3 β HSD returned to control values by 8 h post-PGF2α treatment. P450scc expression was also reduced at 4 h (44-54%), but by 8 h, both protein and mRNA levels had increased above the normal control levels (P < 0.02). In contrast, the 0.8-kilobase SCP2-specific mRNA transcript was reduced to 50% and 80% of the pre-PGF2α treatment level at 4 and 8 h, respectively (P < 0.01). SCP2 ribonuclease protection assay analysis also indicated that SCP2 mRNA levels were reduced 65% (P < 0.03) and 85% (P < 0.01) by 4 and 8 h post-PGF2α treatment compared to those in time zero ovarian tissue. Consistent with the loss of SCP2 mRNA expression, Western blot analysis indicated that a 15-kilodalton SCP2-immunoreactive protein (presumably the pro-SCP2 form) was significantly reduced or absent in the PGF2α treated animals (P < 0.04).
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