This laboratory has previously shown that interleukin-1 (IL-1), a putative intermediary in the ovulatory process, is capable of up-regulating PG biosynthesis by cultured whole ovarian dispersates from immature rats. In part, this phenomenon was attributable to the stimulation of ovarian phospholipase A2 activity. In this communication we examine the possibility that the PG-promoting property of IL-1 is also due to the up-regulation of PG endoperoxide synthase (PGS), the rate-limiting step in prostanoid biosynthesis. The in vivo expression of ovarian PGS-2 transcripts in the course of a simulated estrous cycle rose abruptly to a peak (35-fold increase over the control value; P < 0.05) 8-12 h after hCG administration (i.e. before or during projected ovulation). PGS-1 transcripts, in turn, were not significantly altered during the periovulatory period. Treatment of cultured whole ovarian dispersates with IL-1β resulted in dose- and time-dependent up-regulation of PGS-2 transcripts (as well as of immunoreactive PGS-2 protein and PGE2 accumulation), characterized by an ED50 of 2 ng/ml and a maximal (72-fold) increase at 10 ng/ml. Although treatment with IL-1β also led to an increase in PGS-1 transcripts and immunoreactive PGS-1 protein, the relative magnitude of the effect was markedly reduced compared with that of PGS-2. Cotreatment with an IL-1 receptor antagonist completely reversed the IL-1 effects, thereby suggesting mediation via the IL-1 receptor. The ability of IL-1 to up-regulate PGS-2 transcripts proved relatively specific, in that other cellular regulators (insulin-like growth factor I, activin A, endothelin-1, transforming growth factor-α, tumor necrosis factor-α, vascular endothelial growth factor, leukemia inhibitor factor, hepatocyte growth factor, or keratinocyte growth factor) were not effective. The optimal IL-1 effect required heterologous contact-dependent coculturing of granulosa and thecal-interstitial cells. Taken together, these observations 1) reaffirm (by molecular probing) the granulosa cell as the primary site of ovarian PGS- 1 and PGS-2 expression, 2) document an increase in ovarian PGS-2 transcripts before ovulation, and 3) reveal a marked dependence of ovarian PGS (2 >> 1) transcripts, proteins, and activity on IL-1. The effects of IL-1 proved relatively specific, contingent upon somatic cell-cell cooperation, dose and time dependent, and IL-1 receptor mediated. These results are compatible with the proposition that the PG-promoting property of IL-1 is due, in large measure, to the activation of ovarian PGS transcription and translation. The ability of IL-1 to up-regulate ovarian PGS, an obligatory component of ovulation, is in keeping with the idea that IL-1 may constitute an intermediary in the ovulatory process.
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