Conditional Ablation of Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 Results in Subfertility in the Female and Development of Endometrial Cysts

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Abstract

Progesterone (P4) is essential for female fertility. The objective of this study was to evaluate the functional requirement of the nonclassical P4 receptor (PGR), PGR membrane component 1, in regulating female fertility. To achieve this goal, the Pgrmc1 gene was floxed by insertion of loxP sites on each side of exon 2. Pgrmc1 floxed (Pgrmc1fl/fl) mice were crossed with Pgrcre or Amhr2cre mice to delete Pgrmc1 (Pgrmc1d/d) from the female reproductive tract. A 6-month breeding trial revealed that conditional ablation of Pgrmc1 with Pgrcre/+ mice resulted in a 40% reduction (P = .0002) in the number of pups/litter. Neither the capacity to ovulate in response to gonadotropin treatment nor the expression of PGR and the estrogen receptor was altered in the uteri of Pgrmc1d/d mice compared with Pgrmc1fl/fl control mice. Although conditional ablation of Pgrmc1 from mesenchymal tissue using Amhr2cre/+ mice did not reduce the number of pups/litter, the total number of litters born in the 6-month breeding trial was significantly decreased (P = .041). In addition to subfertility, conditional ablation of Pgrmc1 using either Amhr2cre/+ or Pgrcre/+ mice resulted in the development of endometrial cysts starting around 4 months of age. Interestingly, pregnancy attenuated the formation of these uterine cysts. These new findings demonstrate that PGR membrane component 1 plays an important role in female fertility and uterine tissue homeostasis.

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