Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a multifunctional cytokine with profound effects on ovarian function. The effects of IL-1 on ovarian steroidogenesis have been demonstrated in several species. IL-1 mRNA levels are increased in the thecal layer of the ovulating follicle and IL-1β has been shown to induce ovulations in vitro. In this study we have investigated the presence and distribution of the mRNAs for type I IL-1 receptor (IL-1RtI) and for the naturally occurring IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) in ovaries of adult cycling rats, to elucidate the target cells for IL-1 action. We have demonstrated the presence of mRNA for both substances by in situ hybridisation and reverse transcription PCR. mRNA for IL-1RtI was not found in primordial follicles but was abundant in the granulosa and thecal layer in developing follicles with stronger signals in the granulosa layer. In the preovulatory and ovulatory follicles, there was a further increase in the signal for IL-1RtI mRNA in the thecal layer compared with the granulosa layer. Corpora lutea were weakly positive at all stages and atretic follicles were largely negative. No mRNA was detected in oocytes of any stage. mRNA for IL-1ra showed a similar distribution to that of IL-1RtI. The changes in distribution suggest an action of IL-1 on rat granulosa cells during follicular development and on thecal cells during ovulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism