Chemokine ligand 20: A signal for leukocyte recruitment during human ovulation?

Linah Al-Alem, Muraly Puttabyatappa, Kathy Rosewell, Mats Brännström, James Akin, Jeffrey Boldt, Ken Muse, Thomas E. Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ovulation is one of the cornerstones of female fertility. Disruption of the ovulatory process results in infertility, which affects approximately 10% of couples. Using a unique model in which the dominant follicle is collected across the periovulatory period in women, we have identified a leukocyte chemoattractant, chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), in the human ovary. CCL20 mRNA is massively induced after an in vivo human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) stimulus in granulosa (>10 000-fold) and theca (>4000-fold) cells collected during the early ovulatory (12-18 h) and late ovulatory (18-34 h) periods after hCG administration. Because the LH surge sets in motion an inflammatory reaction characterized by an influx of leukocytes and CCL20 is known to recruit leukocytes in other systems, the composition of ovarian leukocytes (CD45+) containing the CCL20 receptor CCR6 was determined immediately prior to ovulation. CD45+/CCR6+ cells were primarily natural killer cells (41%) along with B cells (12%), T cells (11%), neutrophils (10%), and monocytes (9%). Importantly, exogenous CCL20 stimulated ovarian leukocyte migration 59% within 90 minutes. Due to the difficulties in obtaining human follicles, an in vitro model was developed using granulosa-lutein cells to explore CCL20 regulation. CCL20 expression increased 40-fold within 6 hours after hCG, was regulated partially by the epithelial growth factor pathway, and was positively correlated with progesterone production. These results demonstrate that hCG dramatically increases CCL20 expression in the human ovary, that ovarian leukocytes contain the CCL20 receptor, and that CCL20 stimulates leukocyte migration. Our findings raise the prospect that CCL20 may aid in the final ovulatory events and contribute to fertility in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3358-3369
Number of pages12
JournalEndocrinology
Volume156
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2015 by the Endocrine Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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