Nitric oxide in bovine corpus luteum: Possible mechanisms of action in luteolysis

Anna Korzekwa, Izabela Woclawek-Potocka, Kiyoshi Okuda, Tomas J. Acosta, Dariusz J. Skarzynski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Although prostaglandin (PG) F2α is considered as the principal luteolytic factor, its action on the bovine corpus luteum (CL) is mediated by other intraovarian factors. Among them, nitric oxide (NO) seems to play a mandatory role in luteolysis. In this article we review the background and current status of work on possible roles of NO in the CL function, based on available information and our own experimental data. NO is produced in all three main types of bovine CL cells: steroidogenic, endothelial and immune cells. PGF2α and some luteolytic cytokines (tumor necrosis factor, interferon) increase NO production and stimulate NO synthase expression in the bovine CL. NO inhibits progesterone production, stimulates the secretion of PGF2α and leukotriene C4, reduces the number of viable luteal cells and, finally, participates in functional luteolysis. NO induces the apoptotic death of CL cells by the modulation of bcl-2 family gene expression and the stimulation of caspase-3 gene expression and activity. However, this simple molecule shows both luteolytic and luteotropic actions during the estrous cycle in ruminants. The aim of this overview is to present and discuss the recent findings crucial for understanding NO role in the process of CL regression in cattle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalAnimal Science Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cattle
  • Corpus luteum
  • Luteolysis
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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