It is well established that rat ovarian granulosa cells produce tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). The synthesis and secretion of the enzyme are induced by gonadotropins, and correlate well with the time of follicular rupture in vivo. We have found that in contrast, mouse granulosa cells produce a different form of plasminogen activator, the urokinase-type (uPA). As with tPA synthesis in the rat, uPA production by mouse granulosa cells is induced by gonadotropins, dibutyryl cAMP, and prostaglandin E2. However, dexamethasone, a drug which has no effect on tPA synthesis in rat cells inhibits uPA synthesis in the mouse. Results of these determinations made in cell culture were corroborated by examining follicular fluid, which is secreted in vivo predominantly by granulosa cells, from stimulated rat and mouse ovarian follicles. Rat follicular fluid contained only tPA, and mouse follicular fluid only uPA, indicating that in vivo, granulosa cells from the two species are secreting different enzymes. The difference in the type of plasminogen activator produced by the rat and mouse granulosa cells was confirmed at the messenger RNA level. After hormone stimulation, only tPA mRNA was present in rat cells, whereas only uPA mRNA was found in mouse cells. Furthermore, the regulation of uPA levels in mouse cells occurs via transient modulation of steady-state levels of mRNA, a pattern similar to that seen with tPA in rat cells.

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