Expression of Tachykinins and Tachykinin Receptors and Interaction with Kisspeptin in Human Granulosa and Cumulus Cells

Garcia-Ortega, J, Pinto, F M, Prados, N, Bello, A R, Almeida, T A, Fernandez-Sanchez, M, Candenas, L,
Biol Reprod. Jun. 2016 doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.116.139881


The neurokinin B/NK3 receptor (NK3R) and kisspeptin/kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R), two systems which are essential for reproduction, are coexpressed in human mural granulosa (MGC) and cumulus cells (CCs). However, little is known about the presence of other members of the tachykinin family in the human ovary. In the present study, we analyzed the expression of substance P (SP), hemokinin-1 (HK-1), NK1 receptor (NK1R), and NK2 receptor (NK2R) in MGCs and CCs collected from preovulatory follicles of oocyte donors at the time of oocyte retrieval. RT-PCR, quantitative RT-PCR, immunocytochemistry, and Western blotting were used to investigate the patterns of expression of tachykinin and tachykinin receptor mRNAs and proteins and the possible interaction between the tachykinin family and kisspeptin. Intracellular free Ca(2+) levels ([Ca(2+)]i) in MGCs after exposure to SP or kisspeptin in the presence of SP were also measured. We found that SP, HK-1, the truncated NK1R isoform NK1R-Tr, and NK2R were all expressed in MGCs and CCs. NK1R-Tr mRNA and NK2R mRNA and protein levels were higher in MGCs than in CCs from the same patients. Treatment of cells with kisspeptin modulated the expression of HK-1, NK3R, and KISS1R mRNAs, whereas treatment with SP regulated kisspeptin mRNA levels and reduced the [Ca(2+)]i response produced by kisspeptin. These data demonstrate that the whole tachykinin system is expressed and acts in coordination with kisspeptin to regulate granulosa cell function in the human ovary.