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Saller, S.; Merz-Lange, J.; Raffael, S.; Hecht, S.; Pavlik, R.; Thaler, C.; Berg, D.; Berg, U.; Kunz, Lars ORCID: 0000-0003-3141-0005; Mayerhofer, Artur (2012): Norepinephrine, Active Norepinephrine Transporter, and Norepinephrine-Metabolism Are Involved in the Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species in Human Ovarian Granulosa Cells. In: Endocrinology, Vol. 153, No. 3: pp. 1472-1483
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The neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) is derived from the sympathetic nervous system and may be involved in the regulation of ovarian functions. Ovarian innervation increases in patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), prompting us to readdress a role of NE in the human ovary. In vitro fertilization-derived granulosa cells (GC), follicular fluids (FF), and ovarian sections were studied. NE was found in FF and freshly isolated GC, yet significantly lower levels of NE were detected in samples from PCOS patients. Furthermore, the metabolite normetanephrine was detected in FF. Together this suggests cellular uptake and metabolism of NE in GC. In accordance, the NE transporter and NE-metabolizing enzymes [catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT) and monoamine oxidase A] were found in GC, COMT in GC and thecal cells of large human antral follicles in vivo and in cultured GC. Cellular uptake and metabolism of NE also occurred in cultured GC, events that could be blocked pharmacologically. NE, in the range present in FF, is unlikely to affect GC via activation of typical alpha- or beta-receptors. In line with this assumption, it did not alter phosphorylation of MAPK. However, NE robustly induced the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This action occurred even when receptors were blocked but was prevented by blockers of NE transporter, COMT, and monoamine oxidase A. Thus, NE contributes to the microenvironment of preovulatory human follicles and is lower in PCOS. By inducing the production of ROS in GC, NE is linked to ROS-regulated events, which are emerging as crucial factors in ovarian physiology, including ovulation. (Endocrinology 153: 1472-1483, 2012)