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The effects of levonorgestrel on FSH-stimulated primary rat granulosa cell cultures through gene expression profiling are associated to hormone and folliculogenesis processes

Lira-Albarrán, Saúl, Larrea-Schiavon, Marco F., González, Leticia, Durand, Marta, Rangel, Claudia, Larrea, Fernando
Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2017 v.439 pp. 337-345
aromatase, cell culture, contraception, culture media, estradiol, females, follicle-stimulating hormone, follicular development, gene expression, gene expression regulation, granulosa cells, humans, laboratory animals, mechanism of action, messenger RNA, microarray technology, ovulation, progestational hormones, rats, steroid metabolism
Levonorgestrel (LNG), a synthetic progestin, is used in emergency contraception (EC). The mechanism is preventing or delaying ovulation at the level of the hypothalamic pituitary unit; however, little knowledge exists on LNG effects at the ovary. The aim of this study was to identify the effects of LNG on FSH-induced 17β-estradiol (E2) production, including LNG-mediated changes on global gene expression in rat granulosa cells (GC). Isolated GC from female Wistar rats were incubated in vitro in the presence or absence of human FSH and progestins. At the end of incubations, culture media and cells were collected for E2 and mRNA quantitation. The results showed the ability of LNG to inhibit both hFSH-induced E2 production and aromatase gene expression. Microarray analysis revealed that LNG treatment affects GC functionality particularly that related to folliculogenesis and steroid metabolism. These results may offer additional evidence for the mechanisms of action of LNG as EC.