Skip to content


  • Research
  • Open Access

Localization and gene expression of steroid sulfatase by RT-PCR in cumulus cells and relationship to serum FSH levels observed during in vitro fertilization

  • 1,
  • 1Email author,
  • 1,
  • 1,
  • 1 and
  • 1
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction20052:6

  • Received: 18 January 2005
  • Accepted: 11 April 2005
  • Published:



The purpose of this study was to localize the expression of steroid sulfatase (STS) in cumulus cells and to determine the relationship between STS mRNA expression and the serum levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol and progesterone.


The subject group included 49 women (29 to 44 years old) for whom in vitro fertilization treatment was indicated. All subjects gave informed consent. One hundred fourteen samples of cumulus-oocyte complex (COC) were obtained under microscopic observation. Part of the COC was stained by STS antibody. RNA was extracted by phenol-chloroform method and real-time PCR was performed. Serum of each patient was collected and was measured by ELISA.


Some of the cumulus samples were stained by STS antibody. The expression of STS mRNA in all samples was confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Although there was no significant correlation between the level of STS mRNA and the serum levels of estradiol, progesterone and LH, there was a statistically significant negative correlation between the level of STS mRNA expression and the serum level of FSH (n = 105, p = 0.018, r = -0.22).


These results have demonstrated for the first time the expression of STS in cumulus cells by immunohistological stainings and real-time RT-PCR. STS expression in cumulus cells may be related to the control of the local steroidal environment in the oocyte. Serum FSH may control STS mRNA expression from the results of RT-PCR, although the correlation was low.