The ovary is a dynamic organ that undergoes cyclic structural and functional changes. Structurally, the internal architecture of the ovary constantly changes as follicles grow, rupture and transform into corpora lutea in a cyclical manner. Functionally, a variety of regulatory ovarian hormones are sequentially produced, and eggs are periodically released. As a highly vascularized organ, the ovarian structures and functions change in response to external stimuli that include but are not limited to pituitary gonadotropins. Following stimulation, the ovary synthesizes and releases autocrine and paracrine signals that play unique roles in regulating its function. Recent studies have identified endothelins as local regulators in the ovary that modulate multiple cyclic events, such as follicle growth, steroidogenesis, oocyte maturation, ovulation, corpus luteum formation and luteolysis. Interestingly, in all mammalian species examined to date, a common observation has been made: the ovary produces two pharmacologically similar endothelins (ET-1 and ET-2) but expresses two functionally different endothelin receptors (ETA and ETB) that often give rise to opposite physiological outcomes following activation by an endothelin. In this review, the physiological significance of the presence of the two ligand-two receptor endothelin system in the ovary will be discussed.
- Corpus luteum
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)