Luteolysis is characterized by a reduction in progesterone (P4) production and tissue degeneration in the corpus luteum (CL). One of major events during luteolysis is luteal cell death. Galectin-3, a ubiquitously expressed protein involved in many cellular processes, serves as an antiapoptotic and/or proapoptotic factor in various cell types. Although galectin-3 is detected in the bovine CL, its role remains unclear. The expression of galectin-3 in the bovine CL was higher at the regressed stage than at the other luteal stages. Galectin-3 was localized on luteal steroidogenic cells (LSCs). When cultured LSCs were exposed to prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF) for 48 h, the expression and secretion of galectin-3 increased. When the cultured LSCs were treated with galectin-3 for 24 h, cleaved caspase-3 expression was increased, and the cell viability was decreased, whereas P4 production did not change. Beta 1 integrin, a target protein of galectin-3, was expressed in bovine CL and possessed glycans, which galectin-3 binds. Furthermore, galectin-3 bound to glycans of luteal beta 1 integrin. The decreased cell viability of cultured LSCs by galectin-3 was suppressed by beta 1 integrin antibody. The overall findings suggest that the secreted galectin-3 stimulated by PGF plays a role in structural luteolysis by binding to beta 1 integrin.
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Vol. 91 • No. 1