Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:92 issue:26 pages:12446-50
Several lines of indirect evidence suggest that plasminogen activation plays a crucial role in degradation of the follicular wall during ovulation. However, single-deficient mice lacking tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA), urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA), or PA inhibitor type 1(PAI-1) gene function were recently found to have normal reproduction, although mice with a combined deficiency of tPA and uPA were significantly less fertile. To investigate whether the reduced fertility of mice lacking PA gene function is due to a reduced ovulation mechanism, we have determined the ovulation efficiency in 25-day-old mice during gonadotropin-induced ovulation. Our results reveal that ovulation efficiency is normal in mice with a single deficiency of tPA or uPA but reduced by 26% in mice lacking both physiological PAs. This result suggests that plasminogen activation plays a role in ovulatory response, although neither tPA nor uPA individually or in combination is obligatory for ovulation. The loss of an individual PA seems to be functionally complemented by the remaining PA but this compensation does not appear to involve any compensatory up-regulation. Our data imply that a functionally redundant mechanism for plasmin formation operates during gonadotropin-induced ovulation and that PAs together with other proteases generate the proteolytic activity required for follicular wall degradation.