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Articles by J. S. Richards
Total Records ( 2 ) for J. S. Richards
  Z Liu , D. G de Matos , H. Y Fan , M Shimada , S Palmer and J. S. Richards

Ovulation has long been regarded as a process resembling an inflammatory response. Recent studies indicate that genes associated with innate immune responses were also expressed during the ovulation process. Because the innate immune genes are induced in cumulus cell oocyte complexes (COCs) later than the inflammation-associated genes, we hypothesize that COC expansion is dependent on specific sequential changes in cumulus cells. Because IL-6 is a potent mediator of immune responses, we sought to determine what factors regulate the induction of Il6 mRNA in COCs and what impact IL-6 alone would have on COC expansion. We found that the levels of Il6 mRNA increased dramatically during COC expansion, both in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, IL-6, together with its soluble receptor (IL-6SR), could bypass the need for either amphiregulin and/or prostaglandin E2 to induce the expansion of COCs. This ability of IL-6/IL-6SR to induce COC expansion was blocked by the inhibitors to p38MAPK, MAPK kinase 1/2, and Janus kinase. More importantly, when COCs were in vitro maturated in the presence of IL-6, they had a significantly higher embryo transfer rate than the ones without IL-6 and comparable with in vivo matured oocytes. IL-6/IL-6SR activated multiple signaling pathways (Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription, ERK1/2, p38MAPK, and AKT) and progressively induced genes known to impact COC expansion, genes related to inflammation and immune responses, and some transcription factors. Collectively, these data indicate that IL-6 alone can act as a potent autocrine regulator of ovarian cumulus cell function, COC expansion, and oocyte competence.

  H. Y Fan , A O'Connor , M Shitanaka , M Shimada , Z Liu and J. S. Richards

Wingless-type mouse mammary tumor virus integration site family (WNT)/β-catenin (CTNNB1) pathway components are expressed in ovarian granulosa cells, direct female gonad development, and are regulated by the pituitary gonadotropins. However, the in vivo functions of CTNNB1 during preovulatory follicular development, ovulation, and luteinization remain unclear. Using a mouse model Ctnnb1(Ex3)fl/fl;Cyp19-Cre (Ctnnb1(Ex3)gc–/–), expressing dominant stable CTNNB1 in granulosa cells of small antral and preovulatory follicles, we show that CTNNB1 facilitates FSH-induced follicular growth and decreases the follicle atresia (granulosa cell apoptosis). At the molecular level, WNT signaling and FSH synergistically promote the expression of genes required for cell proliferation and estrogen biosynthesis, but decrease FOXO1, which negatively regulates proliferation and steroidogenesis. Conversely, dominant stable CTNNB1 represses LH-induced oocyte maturation, ovulation, luteinization, and progesterone biosynthesis. Specifically, granulosa cells in the Ctnnb1(Ex3)gc–/– mice showed compromised responses to the LH surge and decreased levels of the epidermal growth factor-like factors (Areg and Ereg) that in vivo and in vitro mediate LH action. One underlying mechanism by which CTNNB1 prevents LH responses is by reducing phosphorylation of cAMP-responsive element-binding protein, which is essential for the expression of Areg and Ereg. By contrast, depletion of Ctnnb1 using the Ctnnb1fl/fl;Cyp19-Cre mice did not alter FSH regulation of preovulatory follicular development or female fertility but dramatically enhanced LH induction of genes in granulosa cells in culture. Thus, CTNNB1 can enhance FSH and LH actions in antral follicles but overactivation of CTNNB1 negatively effects LH-induced ovulation and luteinization, highlighting the cell context-dependent and developmental stage-specific interactions of WNT/CTNNB1 pathway and G protein-coupled gonadotropin receptors in female fertility.

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