Potential Regulators of Physiological Cell Death in the Corpus Luteum

  • Bo R. Rueda
  • Debora L. Hamernik
  • Patricia B. Hoyer
  • Jonathan L. Tilly
Part of the Proceedings in the Serono Symposia USA Series book series (SERONOSYMP)


The corpus luteum (CL) is formed within the mammalian ovary from the remaining follicular tissue following ovulation of the dominant follicle(s). The primary function of the CL is to synthesize and secrete progesterone. Circulating levels of progesterone rise during luteinization of the ovulated follicle and are maintained in order to provide uterine quiescence for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy. If, however, fertilization fails or does not occur, the CL regresses by a process referred to as luteolysis. The CL, like most female reproductive endocrine tissues, goes through a phase of rapid cellular growth, proliferation and neovascularization that, by many criteria, is analogous to tumor development. Unlike a tumor, however, the lifespan of the luteal cells is defined as removal of the CL is important for resumption of the next estrous or menstrual cycle. As would be expected, luteal regression is likely mediated via apoptosis. Although much is known about CL function, relatively little is known about mechanisms that regulate luteal cell death. Recently, there has been a plethora of information published regarding the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS), protooncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, transcription factors and proteases in regulating the fate of many cell types. The focus of this review is to discuss the potential role of oxidative stress response and cell death genes in regulating the lifespan of the CL. A brief review of the morphological and physiological aspects of luteal function and regression is also presented.


Granulosa Cell Corpus Luteum Estrous Cycle Luteal Cell Luteal Tissue 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bo R. Rueda
  • Debora L. Hamernik
  • Patricia B. Hoyer
  • Jonathan L. Tilly

There are no affiliations available

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