Regulation of luteal regression: The ewe as a model

Patricia B. Hoyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This article focuses on mechanisms that regulate functional and structural regression of the corpus luteum (CL) with special emphasis on the role of prostaglandin F(2α) (PGF2α) in mediating these events in large luteal cells in the ewe. Progesterone produced by the CL is absolutely required in all mammals for implantation and early maintenance of pregnancy. Luteal regression at the end of the nonpregnant cycle involves loss of progesterone production and tissue destruction via physiologic cell death, apoptosis. These are distinct events termed functional and structural regression, respectively. In many mammals, including ewes, luteal regression is initiated by prostaglandin F(2α) (PGF(2α)) of uterine origin. However, the exact mechanisms of this regulation are not well understood. Functional regression appears to be directly stimulated by PGF(2α) via activation of its membrane receptor. Whether structural regression is also initiated directly by PGF(2α) is not known. The ovine CL contains two morphologically and functionally distinct steroidogenic cell types, designated small and large. Receptors for PGF(2α) are exclusively located on large cells. Thus, the signal for regression is received in those cells. These data provide strong evidence that the intracellular determinant of regression resides within the large cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Luteal regression
  • Ovine corpus luteum
  • Prostaglandin F(2α)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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