To reveal the well known effect of smoking on the incidence of early abortion, the possible effects of cigarette alkaloids on progesterone and estradiol synthesis were investigated. A suspected cause for early spontaneous abortion is corpus luteum insufficiency. The present experiments evaluate the effects of cigarette smoke alkaloids on progesterone and estradiol biosyntheses. Human granulosa cells were obtained from patients undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer treatment because of infertility. Incubation of the granulosa cells with cotinine, anabasine, with the combination of nicotine, cotinine and anabasine, or with an aqueous extract of cigarette smoke resulted in inhibition of progesterone synthesis. The alkaloids and smoke extract decreased the DNA content of the culture dish. These latter findings suggested a cytotoxic effect of the alkaloids. Both cotinine and anabasine slightly stimulated the syntheses of normalized estradiol. However, nicotine, combination of all three alkaloids, and cigarette smoke extract had no significant influence on estradiol production. Taken together, these data would suggest that cigarette alkaloids inhibit cellular progesterone synthesis both by inhibiting progesterone synthesis and by causing less specific toxic effects to the cell. In contrast, cigarette smoke alkaloids slightly stimulated or had no effect on estradiol production. These concomitant actions of cigarette alkaloids partly explain the higher incidence of early abortion in pregnant women who smoke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Obstetrics and Gynaecology