Expression of the nuclear receptor, steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1/Ad4BP), was studied in a primate (marmoset) ovary using immunohistochemical, RT-PCR, and immunoblot techniques. The periovulatory phase was compared with the luteal phase. With PCR we found a marmoset homolog of SF-1/Ad4BP to be expressed in ovarian and other steroidogenic tissues. Characteristically, the periovulatory ovaries consisted of growing (nonluteinized) small follicles together with large luteinizing follicles and many corpora lutea accessoria (Clas), which had developed from atretic large follicles. During the luteal phase, true corpora lutea (Cls) were additionally found. In general, we found that small follicles were devoid of any immunoreactivity of SF-1/Ad4BP. In large follicles, the luteinizing theca and granulosa cells express SF-1/Ad4BP. All luteal cells of Clas showed a nuclear staining in both ovary types. In Cls, only a few luteal cells were positive. Large follicles of different sizes showed no differences in expression level, as evidenced by immunoblot analysis. Our results indicate that SF-1/Ad4BP participates in the activation of gene transcription during the onset of luteinization and that Clas are essential for ovarian luteal function.
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