Indexed on: 27 Jan '09Published on: 27 Jan '09Published in: Human reproduction (Oxford, England)
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a potentially life-threatening complication of ovarian stimulation associated with severe vascular hyperpermeability. Primary co-cultures of human luteinized granulosa cells (LGCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were used as a model of steroidgenic/endothelial cell interaction in OHSS.hCG and the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, Flt-1Fc, were added to co-cultures of LGCs and HUVECs separated by a micropore membrane. Endothelial permeability to labeled bovine serum albumin was measured and the expression of the endothelial cell-specific adhesion protein claudin 5 was investigated using immunocytochemistry and western blotting.The addition of hCG increased HUVEC permeability in the presence of LGCs (P < 0.05). hCG increased VEGF concentrations in both chambers of the co-culture system (P < 0.05). The increased permeability in the presence of LGCs and hCG was inhibited when VEGF was blocked by Flt-1Fc (P < 0.05). Endothelial membrane claudin 5 protein was reduced in the presence of hCG and LGCs, as measured by immunocytochemistry (P < 0.05) and western blotting (P < 0.05) and this reduction was inhibited by Flt-1Fc. hCG had no direct effects on endothelial cell claudin 5.For OHSS, this novel paradigm suggests that hCG can increase endothelial permeability by up-regulating VEGF in LGCs which causes reduction in endothelial claudin 5 expression.