Journal of Molecular Histology

, Volume 41, Issue 2–3, pp 101–110 | Cite as

Broad tissue expression of membrane progesterone receptor Alpha in normal mice

  • Shaojin You
  • Lian Zuo
  • Vijay Varma
Original Paper


The broad tissue distribution of membrane progesterone receptor alpha (mPRα) in vertebrates suggests multiple physiological functions of the receptor. Current knowledge regarding the receptor distribution, however, is largely obtained via non-histological assays. In this study, the tissue distribution of mPRα in mice of both sexes was described using both histological and non-histological methods. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that abundant expression of mPRα was consistently detected in the cytoplasm and membrane of smooth muscles in vasculatures, gastro-intestines, and uterus. It was also observed in myoepithelial cells of mammary gland and intra-ovarian myofibroblasts. These findings suggest that mPRα may function as a mediator of P4 in regulating function of smooth muscles or smooth muscle-like cells in numerous physiological processes such as vasodilation, transportation of contents within luminary organs, relaxation of the uterine myometrium during pregnancy, release of oocytes, and milk secretion. In addition, strong mPRα expression was identified in the parietal cells of gastric glands, indicating the potential roles of P4/mPRα signaling in the modulation of gastric acid secretion. Surprisingly, in the testis of male mice mPRα was mainly seen in the nuclei, rather than cytoplasm and/or membrane, of the primary and secondary spermatocytes, suggesting a direct role of the receptor in gene regulation. Our results indicate that mPRα may function as a key modulator of P4 in the modulation of multiple physiological functions in normal mice.


Membrane progesterone receptor alpha Protein expression Tissue distribution 



We thank Mr. Max Green (Atlanta Research & Educational Foundation, Atlanta VA Medical Center) for his assistance in editing the manuscript. This work is supported by Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program Synergy Idea Award and Atlanta Research and Education Foundation Bridge Fund (S. You).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Histo—pathology coreAtlanta Research and Educational Foundation (151F), Atlanta VA Medical CenterDecaturUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyAtlanta Research and Educational Foundation (151F), Atlanta VA Medical CenterDecaturUSA

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