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).
Elisabeth Sambroni, Antoine D Rolland, Jean-Jacques Lareyre and Florence Le Gac
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.
E L Yong, S G Hillier, M Turner, D T Baird, S C Ng, A Bongso and S S Ratnam
The co-ordinated biosynthesis of progesterone and oestradiol in the human ovary is critical for reproductive cyclicity and eventual pregnancy. The crucial regulatory enzymes for progesterone and oestradiol biosynthesis in granulosa cells are the cholesterol side-chain cleavage (P450scc) and aromatase (P450arom) enzymes respectively. We utilized the cDNA sequences encoding P450arom and P450scc to examine the roles of FSH and LH, and their intracellular second messenger, cyclic AMP (cAMP), in regulating steroidogenic gene expression. Mature granulosa cells (aspirated before the onset of the endogenous LH surge) and granulosa lutein cells (obtained after an ovulatory dose of human chorionic gonadotrophin) were cultured for 4 days with FSH, LH or dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP). After the period of culture, total RNA was extracted from granulosa cells and Northern analyses were performed utilizing 32P-labelled cDNAs encoding P450arom and P450scc. Spent culture media were analysed for steroid and cAMP content.
Both FSH and LH strongly stimulated P450arom mRNA expression and oestradiol production in mature granulosa cells. On the other hand, P450scc mRNA expression and progesterone biosynthesis were weakly induced by FSH; maximal synthesis occurred only in the presence of LH. With both gonadotrophins at equivalent concentrations, LH generated a 30-fold higher level of cAMP than FSH. Furthermore, the differential effects of FSH and LH on P450 mRNA expression were reproduced by the presence of low and high concentrations of dbcAMP respectively. LH (and high levels of dbcAMP) increased P450arom mRNA expression in mature granulosa cells but inhibited its accumulation in granulosa lutein cells. In contrast, it stimulated P450scc mRNA expression and progesterone synthesis in both mature granulosa and granulosa lutein cells. Therefore, FSH/low cAMP levels stimulated P450arom gene expression and oestradiol production, while LH/high cAMP levels maximally induced P450scc gene expression and function, in a development-related manner consistent with steroid production in vivo. These findings support the hypothesis that one set of genes (like P450arom) in human granulosa cells is regulated by FSH/low cAMP levels and another (like P450scc) by LH/high cAMP levels.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
G D Jahnke, C S Trempus, F W Kari and R P DiAugustine
Prolactin is a member of the growth hormone family and is required for the growth and terminal differentiation of the mammary gland. Ectopic production of this hormone has been reported in several species, including rat, sheep, goat and human mammary tissues. In this study, mouse mammary cell lines, xenographs in the mammary gland from these cell lines and from hyperplastic alveolar nodules, spontaneous tumors, and normal tissues were studied for de novo production of this growth factor. Prolactin transcripts were found by reverse transcriptase PCR in some neoplastic and preneoplastic tissues and in mouse mammary cell lines, NOG8 and CDNR4, but were not detected in the normal mouse mammary gland. Northern analysis revealed a 1 kb transcript for both cell lines that co-migrated with the prolactin pituitary transcript. Conditioned medium from NOG8 cells was positive for prolactin bioactivity by the Nb2 rat lymphoma cell proliferation assay, and Western analysis revealed the presence of immunoreactive proteins at M r 14 000 and 60 000. Prolactin-like bioactivity was not detected in conditioned medium from CDNR4 cells, but an immunoreactive protein of M r 60 000 was detected by Western analysis. The mouse mammary cell line, Comma D, was negative for prolactin transcripts; however, adenocarcinomas derived from inoculation of Comma D cells into the cleared mammary fat pad were positive by reverse transcriptase PCR in two of four cases. Hyperplastic outgrowths maintained in the cleared mammary fat pad as well as spontaneous tumors were positive for prolactin transcripts in one of four cases. These results suggest that prolactin can be produced ectopically by the neoplastic mouse mammary gland.
Thomas P Meehan, Barry G Harmon, Megan E Overcast, Kristine K Yu, Sally A Camper, David Puett and Prema Narayan
To study the effects of premature and chronic ligand-mediated luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) activation on reproductive development, we have generated transgenic mice expressing a genetically engineered, constitutively active yoked hormone–receptor complex (YHR), in which a fusion protein of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is covalently linked to the N-terminus of rat LHR. YHR-expressing mice (YHR+) were analyzed at pre- and post-pubertal ages. Relative to wild type (WT) controls, male mice exhibited prepubertal increases in testosterone levels and seminal vesicle weights, and decreases in serum FSH, serum LH, testes weight, and the size of the seminiferous tubules. In adult male YHR+ mice, testosterone and LH levels are not significantly different from WT controls. However, FSH levels and testes weights remain decreased. Female YHR+ mice undergo precocious puberty with early vaginal opening, accelerated uterine development, enhanced follicular development, including the presence of corpora lutea, and an increase in serum progesterone. At 12 weeks of age, the ovary exhibits a relative increase in the amount of interstitial tissue, comprised of cells that are hypertrophic and luteinized, as well as follicles that are degenerating. Additionally, hemorrhagic cysts develop in approximately 25% of the transgenic mice. These degenerative changes are consistent with an aging ovary suggesting that CG-induced LHR activation in female mice leads to precocious sexual development and ovarian lesions. Taken together, these data indicate that the single chain YHR is functional in vivo and demonstrate that YHR+ mice provide a novel system to further understand the reproductive consequences of aberrant LHR activation.