This study was designed to investigate the protective effect of curcumin against d-galactose (d-gal)-induced premature ovarian failure (POF) in mice. A mouse POF model was induced by subcutaneous injection of d-gal (200 mg/kg/day) daily for 42 days. Mice in the curcumin group received both d-gal treatment and intraperitoneal injection of curcumin (100 mg/kg/day) for 42 days. Ovarian function, oxidative stress and apoptosis were evaluated. The P, E2 and SOD levels were higher, and the FSH, LH and MDA levels were significantly lower in the curcumin group than those in the d-gal group. The proportion of primordial follicles was also significantly higher in the curcumin group than that in the d-gal group. In addition, curcumin treatment after d-gal administration resulted in significantly lower Sod2, Cat, 8-OhdG, 4-HNE, NTY and senescence-associated protein P16 expression levels, higher Amh expression levels and less apoptosis in granulosa cells than was observed in the d-gal group. Moreover, the p-Akt, Nrf2 and HO-1 protein expression levels were significantly higher and the apoptosis-related cleaved caspase-3 and -9 protein expression levels were markedly lower in the curcumin group than in the d-gal group. In conclusion, curcumin effectively inhibited d-gal-induced oxidative stress, apoptosis and ovarian injury via a mechanism involving the Nrf2/HO-1 and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways, suggesting that curcumin is a potential protective agent against POF.
Zhengjie Yan, Youjin Dai, Heling Fu, Yuan Zheng, Dan Bao, Yuan Yin, Qin Chen, Xiaowei Nie, Qingting Hao, Daorong Hou and Yugui Cui
M H Abel, D Baban, S Lee, H M Charlton and P J O'Shaughnessy
FSH acts through the Sertoli cell to ensure normal testicular development and function. To identify transcriptional mechanisms through which FSH acts in the testis, we have treated gonadotrophin-deficient hypogonadal (hpg) mice with recombinant FSH and measured changes in testicular transcript levels using microarrays and real-time PCR 12, 24 and 72 h after the start of treatment. Approximately 400 transcripts were significantly altered at each time point by FSH treatment. At 12 h, there was a clear increase in the levels of a number of known Sertoli cell transcripts (e.g. Fabp5, Lgals1, Tesc, Scara5, Aqp5). Additionally, levels of Leydig cell transcripts were also markedly increased (e.g. Ren1, Cyp17a1, Akr1b7, Star, Nr4a1). This was associated with a small but significant rise in testosterone at 24 and 72 h. At 24 h, androgen-dependent Sertoli cell transcripts were up-regulated (e.g. Rhox5, Drd4, Spinlw1, Tubb3 and Tsx) and this trend continued up to 72 h. By contrast with the somatic cells, only five germ cell transcripts (Dkkl1, Hdc, Pou5f1, Zfp541 and 1700021K02Rik) were altered by FSH within the time-course of the experiment. Analysis of canonical pathways showed that FSH induced a general decline in transcripts related to formation and regulation of tight junctions. Results show that FSH acts directly and indirectly to induce rapid changes in Sertoli cell and Leydig cell transcript levels in the hpg mouse but that effects on germ cell development must occur over a longer time-span.
Indrajit Chowdhury, Kelwyn Thomas, Anthony Zeleznik and Winston E Thompson
Published results from our laboratory identified prohibitin (PHB), a gene product expressed in granulosa cells (GCs) that progressively increases during follicle maturation. Our current in vitro studies demonstrate that follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates Phb expression in rat primary GCs. The FSH-dependent expression of PHB was primarily localized within mitochondria, and positively correlates with the morphological changes in GCs organelles, and synthesis and secretions of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). In order to confirm that PHB plays a regulatory role in rat GC differentiation, endogenous PHB-knockdown studies were carried out in undifferentiated GCs using adenoviral (Ad)-mediated RNA interference methodology. Knockdown of PHB in GCs resulted in the suppression of the key steroidogenic enzymes including steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), p450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (p450scc), 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), and aromatase (Cyp19a1); and decreased E2 and P4 synthesis and secretions in the presence of FSH stimulation. Furthermore, these experimental studies also provided direct evidence that PHB within the mitochondrial fraction in GCs is phosphorylated at residues Y249, T258, and Y259 in response to FSH stimulation. The observed levels of phosphorylation of PHB at Y249, T258, and Y259 were significantly low in GCs in the absence of FSH stimulation. In addition, during GC differentiation FSH-induced expression of phospho-PHB (pPHB) requires the activation of MEK1-ERK1/2 signaling pathway. Taken together, these studies provide new evidence supporting FSH-dependent PHB/pPHB upregulation in GCs is required to sustain the differentiated state of GCs.
Kamran Ullah, Tanzil Ur Rahman, Hai-Tao Pan, Meng-Xi Guo, Xin-Yan Dong, Juan Liu, Lu-Yang Jin, Yi Cheng, Zhang-Hong Ke, Jun Ren, Xian-Hua Lin, Xiao-Xiao Qiu, Ting-Ting Wang, He-Feng Huang and Jian-Zhong Sheng
Previous studies have shown that increasing estradiol concentrations had a toxic effect on the embryo and were deleterious to embryo adhesion. In this study, we evaluated the physiological impact of estradiol concentrations on endometrial cells to reveal that serum estradiol levels probably targeted the endometrium in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) protocols. An attachment model of human choriocarcinoma (JAr) cell spheroids to receptive-phase endometrial epithelial cells and Ishikawa cells treated with different estradiol (10−9 M or 10−7 M) concentrations was developed. Differentially expressed protein profiling of the Ishikawa cells was performed by proteomic analysis. Estradiol at 10−7 M demonstrated a high attachment rate of JAr spheroids to the endometrial cell monolayers. Using iTRAQ coupled with LC–MS/MS, we identified 45 differentially expressed proteins containing 43 significantly upregulated and 2 downregulated proteins in Ishikawa cells treated with 10−7 M estradiol. Differential expression of C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 by Western blot confirmed the proteomic results. C3, plasminogen and kininogen-1 localization in human receptive endometrial luminal epithelium highlighted the key proteins as possible targets for endometrial receptivity and interception. Ingenuity pathway analysis of differentially expressed proteins exhibited a variety of signaling pathways, including LXR/RXR activation pathway and acute-phase response signaling and upstream regulators (TNF, IL6, Hmgn3 and miR-140-3p) associated with endometrial receptivity. The observed estrogenic effect on differential proteome dynamics in Ishikawa cells indicates that the human endometrium is the probable target for serum estradiol levels in COH cycles. The findings are also important for future functional studies with the identified proteins that may influence embryo implantation.
Edith Bonnelye, Frédéric Saltel, Anne Chabadel, Ralph A Zirngibl, Jane E Aubin and Pierre Jurdic
The orphan nuclear receptor, estrogen receptor-related receptor α (ERRα) is expressed in osteoblasts and osteoclasts (OCs) and has been proposed to be a modulator of estrogen signaling. To determine the role of ERRα in OC biology, we knocked down ERRα activity by transient transfection of an siRNA directed against ERRα in the RAW264.7 monocyte–macrophage cell line that differentiates into OCs in the presence of receptor activator of nuclear factor κB-ligands and macrophage colony-stimulating factor. In parallel, stable RAW cell lines expressing a dominant-negative form of ERRα and green fluorescent protein (RAW-GFP-ERRαΔAF2) were used. Expression of OC markers was assessed by real-time PCR, and adhesion and transmigration tests were performed. Actin cytoskeletal organization was visualized using confocal microscopy. We found that RAW264.7 cells expressing siRNA directed against ERRα and RAW-GFP-ERRαΔAF2 OCs displayed abnormal spreading, and decreased osteopontin and β3 integrin subunit expression compared with the corresponding control cells. Decreased adhesion and the absence of podosome belts concomitant with abnormal localization of c-src were also observed in RAW-GFP-ERRαΔAF2-derived OCs. In addition, RAW-GFP-ERRαΔAF2-derived OCs failed to transmigrate through osteoblast cell layers. Our data show that the impairment of ERRα function does not alter OC precursor proliferation and differentiation but does alter the adhesion/spreading and migration capacities of mature OCs.
H H Farman, J Wu, K L Gustafsson, S H Windahl, S H Kim, J A Katzenellenbogen, C Ohlsson and M K Lagerquist
Estradiol (E2) signaling via estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) is important for the male skeleton as demonstrated by ERα inactivation in both mice and man. ERα mediates estrogenic effects not only by translocating to the nucleus and affecting gene transcription but also by extra-nuclear actions e.g., triggering cytoplasmic signaling cascades. ERα contains various domains, and the role of activation function 1 (ERαAF-1) is known to be tissue specific. The aim of this study was to determine the importance of extra-nuclear estrogen effects for the skeleton in males and to determine the role of ERαAF-1 for mediating these effects. Five-month-old male wild-type (WT) and ERαAF-1-inactivated (ERαAF-10) mice were orchidectomized and treated with equimolar doses of 17β-estradiol (E2) or an estrogen dendrimer conjugate (EDC), which is incapable of entering the nucleus and thereby only initiates extra-nuclear ER actions or their corresponding vehicles for 3.5 weeks. As expected, E2 treatment increased cortical thickness and trabecular bone volume per total volume (BV/TV) in WT males. EDC treatment increased cortical thickness in WT males, whereas no effect was detected in trabecular bone. In ERαAF-10 males, E2 treatment increased cortical thickness, but did not affect trabecular bone. Interestingly, the effect of EDC on cortical bone was abolished in ERαAF-10 mice. In conclusion, extra-nuclear estrogen signaling affects cortical bone mass in males, and this effect is dependent on a functional ERαAF-1. Increased knowledge regarding estrogen signaling mechanisms in the regulation of the male skeleton may aid the development of new treatment options for male osteoporosis.
James G Yarger, Robert E Babine, Michael Bittner, Erin Shanle, Wei Xu, Pamela Hershberger and Steven H Nye
Ligand structure can affect the activation of nuclear receptors, such as estrogen receptors (ERs), and their control of signaling pathways for cellular responses including death and differentiation. We hypothesized that distinct biological functions of similar estradiol (E2) analogs could be identified by integrating gene expression patterns obtained from human tumor cell lines with receptor binding and functional data for the purpose of developing compounds for treatment of a variety of diseases. We compared the estrogen receptor subtype selectivity and impact on signaling pathways for three distinct, but structurally similar, analogs of E2. Modifications in the core structure of E2 led to pronounced changes in subtype selectivity for estrogen receptors, ER-α or ER-β, along with varying degrees of ER dimerization and activation. While all three E2 analogs are predominantly ER-β agonists, the cell growth inhibitory activity commonly associated with this class of compounds was detected for only two of the analogs and might be explained by a ligand-specific pattern of gene transcription. Microarray studies using three different human tumor cell lines demonstrated that the analogs distinctly affect the transcription of genes in signaling pathways for chromosome replication, cell death, and oligodendrocyte progenitor cell differentiation. That the E2 analogs could lower tumor cell viability and stimulate neuronal differentiation confirmed that gene expression data could accurately distinguish biological activity of the E2 analogs. The findings reported here confirm that cellular responses can be regulated by making key structural alterations to the core structure of endogenous ER ligands.
T Traboulsi, M El Ezzy, J L Gleason and S Mader
About 70% of breast tumors express estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), which mediates the proliferative effects of estrogens on breast epithelial cells, and are candidates for treatment with antiestrogens, steroidal or non-steroidal molecules designed to compete with estrogens and antagonize ERs. The variable patterns of activity of antiestrogens (AEs) in estrogen target tissues and the lack of systematic cross-resistance between different types of molecules have provided evidence for different mechanisms of action. AEs are typically classified as selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), which display tissue-specific partial agonist activity (e.g. tamoxifen and raloxifene), or as pure AEs (e.g. fulvestrant), which enhance ERα post-translational modification by ubiquitin-like molecules and accelerate its proteasomal degradation. Characterization of second- and third-generation AEs, however, suggests the induction of diverse ERα structural conformations, resulting in variable degrees of receptor downregulation and different patterns of systemic properties in animal models and in the clinic.
Yan Zheng and Kevin D Houston
G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 (GPER1) is a seven-transmembrane receptor that mediates rapid cell signaling events stimulated by estrogens. While the role that GPER1 has in the modulation of E2-responsive tissues and cancers is well documented, the molecular mechanisms that regulate GPER1 expression are currently not well defined. The recently identified GPER1-dependent mechanism of tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells underscores the importance of identifying mechanisms that regulate GPER1 expression in this cell type. We hypothesized that GPER1 expression in breast cancer cells is sensitive to [D-glucose] and provide data showing increased GPER1 expression when cells were cultured in low [D-glucose]. To determine if the observed accumulation of GPER1 was AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent, small molecule stimulation or inhibition of AMPK was performed. AMPK inhibition decreased GPER1 accumulation in cells grown in low [D-glucose] while the AMPK-activating compound AICAR increased GPER1 accumulation in cells grown in high [D-glucose] media. Additionally, transfection of cells with a plasmid expressing constitutively active AMPK resulted in increased GPER1 accumulation. To determine if [D-glucose]-dependent GPER1 accumulation altered breast cancer cell response to tamoxifen, cells grown in the presence of decreasing [D-glucose] were co-treated with tamoxifen and IGFBP-1 transcription was measured. The results from these experiments reveal that D-glucose deprivation increased GPER1-mediated and tamoxifen-induced IGFBP-1 transcription suggesting that [D-glucose] may increase breast cancer cell sensitivity to tamoxifen. Taken together, these results identify a previously unknown mechanism that regulates GPER1 expression that modifies one aspect tamoxifen action in breast cancer cells.
Ross S Thomas, Naveed Sarwar, Fladia Phoenix, R Charles Coombes and Simak Ali
Phosphorylation of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) at specific residues in transcription activation function 1 (AF-1) can stimulate ERα activity in a ligand-independent manner. This has led to the proposal that AF-1 phosphorylation and the consequent increase in ERα activity could contribute to resistance to endocrine therapies in breast cancer patients. Previous studies have shown that serine 118 (S118) in AF-1 is phosphorylated by extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (Erk1/2) mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in a ligand-independent manner. Here, we show that serines 104 (S104) and 106 (S106) are also phosphorylated by MAPK in vitro and upon stimulation of MAPK activity in vivo. Phosphorylation of S104 and S106 can be inhibited by the MAP-erk kinase (MEK)1/2 inhibitor U0126 and by expression of kinase-dead Raf1. Further, we show that, although S118 is important for the stimulation of ERα activity by the selective ER modulator 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), S104 and S106 are also required for the agonist activity of OHT. Acidic amino acid substitution of S104 or S106 stimulates ERα activity to a greater extent than the equivalent substitution at S118, suggesting that phosphorylation at S104 and S106 is important for ERα activity. Collectively, these data indicate that the MAPK stimulation of ERα activity involves the phosphorylation not only of S118 but also of S104 and S106, and that MAPK-mediated hyperphosphorylation of ERα at these sites may contribute to resistance to tamoxifen in breast cancer.