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Free access

C Breton, D Di Scala-Guenot and HH Zingg

The differential, tissue-specific regulation of oxytocin (OT) binding sites allows the neurohypophysial nonapeptide OT to fulfill a dual role: to induce uterine contractions at parturition and to mediate milk ejection during lactation. Whereas uterine OT binding sites are up-regulated prior to parturition and are rapidly down-regulated thereafter, mammary gland OT binding sites gradually increase throughout gestation and remain up-regulated during the ensuing lactation period. Here, we structurally characterized OT receptor (OTR) mRNA in mammary gland and analyzed its expression during gestation and lactation and in response to steroid treatment. In mammary gland tissues, we found a 6.7 and a 5.4 kb OTR mRNA species, and both species were further analyzed by RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends). The 6.7 kb mRNA was found to be common to mammary gland and uterus and to extend 618 nucleotides beyond the published sequence of the rat OTR gene. The 5.4 kb mRNA species is unique to the mammary gland and terminates at a mammary gland-specific polyadenylation site that is not preceded by a classical polyadenylation signal. RT-PCR analysis did not provide any evidence for differences in the coding regions, suggesting that both uterine and mammary gland OTR mRNAs encode the same receptor protein. Furthermore, primer extension experiments showed that no differences exist in the specific transcriptional initiation sites of the OTR gene in the two tissues. During pregnancy, OTR mRNA per mammary gland increased approximately 150-fold and remained high during lactation, consistent with the previously identified regulation of OT binding sites and the role of OT during lactation. Whereas estrogen administration strongly induced the uterine OTR mRNA levels (>5-fold), mammary gland remained unaffected by steroid treatment. Moreover, tamoxifen had no effect on the mammary gland OTR mRNA level. In summary, our data demonstrate a differential control of OTR expression in uterus versus mammary gland and a mammary gland-specific OTR mRNA polyadenylation site. However, this differential control apparently does not involve the expression of different receptor genes nor the utilization of tissue-specific transcriptional initiation sites.

Free access

MA Hattori, N Nishida, K Takesue, Y Kato and N Fujihara

The present study was designed to evaluate the regulation of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in porcine oocytes during follicular development. Cumulus-oocyte complexes were obtained by aspirating the small follicles of immature porcine ovaries and cultured at 39 degrees C for 24-72 h with FSH in a serum-free medium. The oocyte-surrounding cumulus cells markedly proliferated and expressed LH receptor mRNA in response to FSH. The endothelial type of NO synthase (eNOS) (130 kDa) was detected in the oocyte, but not in the proliferated cumulus cells, by immunoblotting. The amount of oocyte eNOS did not significantly alter during culture, but measurement of nitrite and nitrate revealed FSH suppression of NO synthesis by approximately 50%. NO-releasing agents were added to the cultures to examine the effect of NO on the growth of cumulus cells. NO-releasing agents showed inhibitory effects on proliferation of the cumulus cells and expression of LH receptor mRNA. Thus, synthesis of eNOS-derived NO is suppressed in the porcine oocyte during development with no change in the enzyme amount, and it is suggested that it has an inhibitory function in the growth of cumulus cells.

Free access

JT Dickey and P Swanson

The effect of steroid hormone treatment on coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) was examined. The cDNAs for coho salmon FSH beta and LH beta subunits were cloned and sequenced using reverse transcriptase PCR. Northern blot analysis revealed that a single transcript of 1 kb for each of these subunits was present in the pituitaries of vitellogenic and spermiating coho salmon. RNase protection assays (RPAs) were developed to quantify FSH beta and LH beta subunit transcript levels. For the RPAs, antisense RNA probes and sense RNA standards were prepared from a region of the cDNAs which spanned the signal peptide and a portion of the mature protein. These RPAs were used to examine the effects of exogenous steroids including testosterone, estradiol-17beta (E2) and 17alpha, 20beta-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17alpha,20beta-P) in vivo, in coho salmon at three time points during the spring period of gonadal growth when plasma levels of FSH are increasing. Both testosterone and E2 increased steady state mRNA levels of LH beta, whereas E2 decreased steady state mRNA levels of FSH beta in one experiment. Thus, the RPAs were able to detect changes in steady state mRNA levels in response to exogenous steroid treatment. Plasma and pituitary levels of FSH and LH were also measured using RIA. Throughout the experimental series, FSH plasma levels decreased in response to exogenous testosterone and E2 administration, while 17alpha,20beta-P had no effect on FSH plasma levels. Plasma LH levels were not detected throughout the course of the experiment. Pituitary LH increased in response to testosterone and E2, while pituitary FSH levels did not change. 17alpha,20beta-P had no effect on pituitary FSH or LH content during the experiment. Thus, regulation of the gonadotropins in coho salmon occurs at both the transcriptional as well as the translational level. Testosterone and E2 appear to have negative feedback effects on FSH, but positive feedback on LH.

Free access

Elisabeth Sambroni, Antoine D Rolland, Jean-Jacques Lareyre and Florence Le Gac

The general rules established from mammalian species for the regulation of spermatogenesis by gonadotropins may not be fully relevant in fish. Particularly, Fsh is as potent as Lh to stimulate steroidogenesis and the Fsh receptor is expressed in Leydig cells. In seasonal breeders, Fsh is likely the major gonadotropin involved in spermatogenesis onset and Lh is required to support spermatogenesis progression and gamete release. However, the genes that relay the action of Fsh and Lh have been poorly investigated in fish. The present study was aimed at identifying gonadotropin-dependent genes expressed in the testis during fish puberty. We cultured pubertal trout testicular explants for 96 h, with or without gonadotropin, and analyzed transcriptome variations using microarrays. Fsh and Lh had similar effects on a large group of genes while other genes were preferentially regulated by one or the other gonadotropin. We showed that most of the responsive genes were expressed in somatic cells and exhibited relevant patterns during the seasonal reproductive cycle. Some genes preferentially modulated by Lh could be involved in testicular cell fate (pvrl1 and bty) or sperm maturation (ehmt2 and racgap1) and will deserve further examination. Besides Fsh's effects on the steroidogenic pathway, our study demonstrates that Fsh coordinates relevant stimulatory and inhibitory paracrine factors known to regulate early germ cell proliferation and differentiation. Some of these genes belong to major regulatory pathways including the Igf pathway (igf1b/igf3 and igfbp6), the Tgfb pathway (amh, inha, inhba, and fstl3), the Wnt pathway (wisp1), and pleiotrophin (mdka).

Restricted access

Ilaria Cimmino, Francesco Oriente, Vittoria D’Esposito, Domenico Liguoro, Pasquale Liguoro, Maria Rosaria Ambrosio, Serena Cabaro, Francesco D’Andrea, Francesco Beguinot, Pietro Formisano and Rossella Valentino

The dramatic rise in obesity and metabolic syndrome can be related, at least in part, to environmental chemical factors such as Bisphenol-A (BPA). In this study, we aimed to understand the effects of low-dose Bisphenol-A on the human mature adipocytes and stromal vascular fraction (SVF) cells, obtained from subcutaneous mammary adipose tissue of overweight female patients, undergoing surgical mammary reduction. 24 and/or 48-h exposure to BPA 0.1 nM elicited significant increase of the inflammatory molecules interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), monocyte chemo-attractant protein 1α (MCP1α) and induced G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 30 (GPR30) levels more than two-fold both in mature adipocytes and SVF cells. These effects were similar to that obtained in the presence of GPR30-specific agonist G1 (100 nM) and were reverted by G15 (1 µM), a GPR30-selective antagonist. As a result of BPA-GPR30 signaling activation, fatty acid synthase (FAS) and leptin mRNA levels were significantly higher upon BPA exposure (P < 0.05) in mature adipocytes, with an opposite effect on adiponectin (ADIPOQ). In addition, an increase in SVF cell proliferation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation, was observed, compared to untreated cells. G15 reverted all of these effects. Interestingly, the action of BPA on SVF cell growth was mimicked by IL-8 treatment and was reverted by incubation with anti-IL8 antibodies. All these data suggest that BPA at 0.1 nM, a ten times lower concentration than environmental exposure, increases the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines via GPR30 both in mature mammary adipocytes and in SVF cells with a possible involvement of IL-8.

Free access

M Hattori, K Takesue, N Nishida, Y Kato and N Fujihara

The present study investigated the effect of retinoic acid (RA) on the differentiation of granulosa cells prepared from porcine ovaries. The granulosa cells were precultured for 15 h, then cultured for 48 h with FSH and further treated for 24 h with LH in order to induce their transformation into luteal cells. After the cells had been exposed to 1 microM retinoids (RA, retinal and retinol) for 87 h, analysis of the LH receptor mRNA expression, an indicator of granulosa cell differentiation, was carried out by using semiquantitative RT-PCR. The results showed that there was a decrease in LH receptor mRNA levels, and that RA had a more potent effect on these levels than the other two retinoids. When cells were exposed to RA in the immature stage (before the addition of FSH) or the early stage of development (0-24 h after the addition of FSH), expression of LH receptor mRNA was greatly diminished. When the immature cells were cultured for 15 h with RA, then washed and cultured for 48 h with FSH and for 24 h with LH, the expression of LH receptor mRNA was not reversed. In the differentiated cells (24 h after the addition of FSH), however, RA no longer had any inhibitory effect. When the immature cells were exposed to RA, FSH-induced expression of c-fos mRNA was markedly decreased. In contrast, expression of c-jun and activating transcription factor-4 mRNAs remained constant. However, the expression of c-fos mRNA was not decreased by forskolin. The results indicate that RA is a potent inhibitor in the immature stage of porcine granulosa cell differentiation, probably through decreased expression of FSH receptor, but that RA does not inhibit differentiation in the mature stage of the cells.

Free access

François Chauvigné, Cinta Zapater, Diego Crespo, Josep V Planas and Joan Cerdà

The current view of the control of spermatogenesis by Fsh and Lh in non-mammalian vertebrates is largely based on studies carried out in teleosts with cystic and cyclic spermatogenesis. Much less is known concerning the specific actions of gonadotropins during semicystic germ cell development, a type of spermatogenesis in which germ cells are released into the tubular lumen where they transform into spermatozoa. In this study, using homologous gonadotropins and a candidate gene approach, for which the genes' testicular cell-type-specific expression was established, we investigated the regulatory effects of Fsh and Lh on gene expression during spermatogenesis in Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis), a flatfish with asynchronous and semicystic germ cell development. During early spermatogenesis, Fsh and Lh upregulated steroidogenesis-related genes and nuclear steroid receptors, expressed in both somatic and germ cells, through steroid-dependent pathways, although Lh preferentially stimulated the expression of downstream genes involved in androgen and progestin syntheses. In addition, Lh specifically promoted the expression of spermatid-specific genes encoding spermatozoan flagellar proteins through direct interaction with the Lh receptor in these cells. Interestingly, at this spermatogenic stage, Fsh primarily regulated genes encoding Sertoli cell growth factors with potentially antagonistic effects on germ cell proliferation and differentiation through steroid mediation. During late spermatogenesis, fewer genes were regulated by Fsh or Lh, which was associated with a translational and posttranslational downregulation of the Fsh receptor in different testicular compartments. These results reveal that conserved and specialized gonadotropic pathways regulate semicystic spermatogenesis in flatfish, which may spatially adjust cell germ development to maintain a continuous reservoir of spermatids in the testis.

Free access

L Bjornstrom, E Kilic, M Norman, MG Parker and M Sjoberg

Both 17beta-estradiol and prolactin play important roles in the mammary gland, raising the possibility of functional cross-talk between the two signaling pathways. Here, we demonstrate that estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) and -beta (ERbeta) are both able to potentiate transcription from a Stat5-responsive promoter when activated by prolactin. Potentiation was observed not only in the presence of 17beta-estradiol, but also in the presence of anti-estrogens such as tamoxifen and ICI 182,780. The magnitude of the response was dependent on cell-type: in the HC11 mouse mammary epithelial cell line ERbeta potentiates transcription efficiently whereas ERalpha showed low activity. Conversely, in COS-7 cells, both estrogen receptors were active. We show that activation domains in the N-terminus (AF-1) and the C-terminus (AF-2) of the ERs are dispensable for potentiation. The effects are dependent on the presence of an intact DNA-binding/hinge domain, which we show is capable of interacting with Stat5b in vitro and in HC11 cell extracts. We conclude that ERalpha and ERbeta act as coactivators for Stat5b through a mechanism which is independent of AF-1 and AF-2.

Free access

D Marcantonio, LE Chalifour, MA Alaoui-Jamali And H T Huynh, MA Alaoui-Jamali, MA Alaoui-Jamali, HT Huynh and HT Huynh

Steroid-sensitive gene-1 (SSG1) is a novel gene we cloned, found regulated by 17beta-estradiol in the rat uterus and mammary gland, and over-expressed in 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced rat mammary tumors. We show here that SSG1 mRNA and protein expression are regulated by androgens in the rat ventral prostate. Increases in SSG1 mRNA levels were detected by Northern blotting after 24 h and reached a 27-fold peak 96 h following castration, relative to SSG1 mRNA expression in sham-operated rats. Dihydrotestosterone or testosterone supplementation of castrated rats prevented this rise in SSG1 mRNA. In contrast with SSG1 mRNA expression, SSG1 protein was decreased 16-fold 2 weeks following castration but was at control levels in the prostates of castrated rats receiving dihydrotestosterone or testosterone. Although SSG1 is regulated by androgens in vivo, treatment of LnCap cells with dihydrotestosterone, cyproterone acetate or flutamide did not result in the regulation of SSG1 protein levels in vitro. Immunofluorescence studies show that SSG1 is mainly expressed in prostatic smooth muscle cells. These results indicate that SSG1 is an androgen-regulated gene that is expressed in the smooth muscle component of the rat ventral prostate in vivo.

Free access

Amelia J Brennan, Julie A Sharp, Christophe M Lefèvre and Kevin R Nicholas

Mammary explants can be hormonally stimulated to mimic the biochemical changes that occur during lactogenesis. Previous studies using mammary explants concluded that the addition of exogenous macromolecules were required for mammary epithelial cells to remain viable in culture. The present study examines the survival of mammary explants from the dairy cow using milk protein gene expression as a functional marker of lactation and cell viability. Mammary explants cultured from late pregnant cows mimicked lactogenesis and showed significantly elevated milk protein gene expression after 3 days of culture with lactogenic hormones. The subsequent removal of exogenous hormones from the media for 10 days resulted in the down-regulation of milk protein genes. During this time, the mammary explants remained hormone responsive, the alveolar architecture was maintained and the expression of milk protein genes was re-induced after a second challenge with lactogenic hormones. We report that a population of bovine mammary epithelial cells have an intrinsic capacity to remain viable and hormone responsive for extended periods in chemically defined media without any exogenous macromolecules. In addition, we found mammary explant viability was dependent on de novo protein and RNA synthesis. Global functional microarray analysis showed that differential expression of genes involved in energy production, immune responses, oxidative stress and apoptosis signalling might contribute to cell survival. As the decline in milk production in dairy cattle after peak lactation results in considerable economic loss, the identification of novel survival genes may be used as genetic markers for breeding programmes to improve lactational persistency in dairy cows.