Indexed on: 23 Aug '06Published on: 23 Aug '06Published in: Human reproduction (Oxford, England)
Regulation of tissue remodelling and ovarian permeability by intercellular adhesion complexes may be involved in normal and pathological ovarian function. Therefore, the occurrence, distribution and hormonal control of the adherens junction protein vascular endothelial cadherin (VE-cadherin) and the tight junction proteins occludin and claudin in the human corpus luteum (CL) were investigated.CLs from patients undergoing hysterectomy for benign reasons were enucleated during early, mid- and late stages of the functional luteal phase and after HCG rescue in vivo. Immunostaining for occludin, claudins 1 and 5 and VE-cadherin was carried out on fixed tissue. Endothelial cells, granulosa lutein cells and theca lutein cells were identified by reference to serial sections immunostained for CD34, 17alpha-hydroxylase and 3beta-hydroxy-steroid-dehydrogenase. Quantitative analyses were performed using image analyses.Occludin was localized to the plasma membrane of granulosa lutein cells and endothelial cells but was absent in theca lutein cells. Claudin 1 was exclusively localized to the plasma membrane of steroidogenic cells. Claudin 5 and VE-cadherin were only present in endothelial cells. After HCG administration in vivo, adherens and tight junction proteins were significantly down-regulated (P < 0.05).The decrease of junctional proteins after HCG treatment suggests a hormonal control of tight and adherens junctions in the CL associated with tissue remodelling and an increase in luteal permeability during early pregnancy.