Transition Metal Chelator Induces Progesterone Production in Mouse Cumulus-Oocyte Complexes and Corpora Lutea

X. Tian, K. Anthony, Francisco J. Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Progesterone production is upregulated in granulosa cells (cumulus and mural) after the LH surge, but the intra-follicular mechanisms regulating this transition are not completely known. Recent findings show that the transition metal chelator, N,N,N′,N′-tetrakis-(2-pyridylmethyl)-ethylenediamine (TPEN), impairs ovarian function. In this study, we provide evidence that chelating transition metals, including zinc, enhances progesterone production. The findings show that TPEN (transition metal chelator) increases abundance of Cyp11a1 and Star messenger RNA (mRNA) between 8- and 20-fold and progesterone production more than 3-fold in cultured cumulus-oocyte complexes (COC). Feeding a zinc-deficient diet for 10 days, but not 3 days, increased Star, Hsd3b, and prostaglandin F2 alpha receptor (Ptgfr) mRNA ~2.5-fold, suggesting that the effect of TPEN is through modulation of zinc availability. Progesterone from cumulus cells promotes oocyte developmental potential. Blocking progesterone production with epostane during maturation reduced subsequent blastocyst formation from 89 % in control to 18 % in epostane-treated complexes, but supplementation with progesterone restored blastocyst developmental potential to 94 %. Feeding a zinc-deficient diet for 5 days before ovulation did not affect the number of CL, STAR protein, or serum progesterone. However, incubating luteal tissue with TPEN increased abundance of Star, Hsd3b, and Ptgfr mRNA 2–3-fold and increased progesterone production 3-fold. TPEN is known to abolish SMAD2/3 signaling in cumulus cells. However, treatment of COC with the SMAD2/3 phosphorylation inhibitor, SB421542, did not by itself induce steroidogenic transcripts but did potentiate EGF-induced Star mRNA expression. Collectively, the results show that depletion of transition metals with TPEN acutely enhances progesterone biosynthesis in COC and luteal tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-383
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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