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.
C Breton, D Di Scala-Guenot and HH Zingg
A. J. Beard, D. Savva, R. G. Glencross, B. J. McLeod and P. G. Knight
To investigate the inhibin-induced suppression of FSH secretion by the anterior pituitary, chronically ovariectomized heifers (three per group) were treated for 56–58 h with either steroid-free bovine follicular fluid (bFF; 8 ml i.v. every 8 h) or 0·9% (w/v) NaCl (8 ml i.v. every 8 h). Blood was withdrawn at 8-h intervals for analysis of plasma concentrations of FSH and LH by radioimmunoassay. At the end of the treatment period, heifers were slaughtered and pituitary glands recovered for determination of gonadotrophin contents and levels of mRNA encoding FSH-β, LH-β, TSH-β and common α glycoprotein hormone subunits using [32P]cDNA probes in total RNA dot and Northern blot assays. Treatment with bFF markedly suppressed plasma FSH by 85% (P<0·001 compared with pretreatment period), but did not affect plasma LH concentrations. Plasma FSH and LH concentrations did not vary significantly in the saline-injected control heifers. The level of FSH-β subunit mRNA was reduced by 60% (P<0·001) in heifers treated with bFF, whereas no significant differences between control and bFF-treated heifers were observed in the levels of mRNA encoding LH-β, TSH-β or common α subunits. Treatments with bFF, however, did not affect pituitary content of either FSH or LH.
These results support the conclusion that inhibin exerts its selective suppressive effect on the secretion of FSH by the bovine pituitary, at least in part, by directly inhibiting expression of the gene encoding the FSH-β subunit.
P.F. Whitelaw, C.D. Smyth, C.M. Howles and S.G. Hillier
Current understanding of the endocrine and paracrine regulation of follicular oestrogen synthesis predicts that aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom) mRNA is inducible by FSH in granulosa cells. LH receptor mRNA is constitutively expressed in thecal/interstital cells, and is also thought to be induced in granulosa cells in response to joint stimulation by FSH and oestrogen. This study provides direct evidence that FSH induces the ovarian P450arom gene selectively, perhaps exclusively, in the granulosa cells of Graafian follicles. FSH-induction of LH receptor mRNA occurs simultaneously but is independent of oestrogen synthesis per se.
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.
J. Brooks, W. J. Crow, J. R. McNeilly and A. S. McNeilly
The modulation of FSH secretion at the beginning and middle of the follicular phase of the cycle represents the key event in the growth and selection of the preovulatory follicle. However, the mechanisms that operate within the pituitary gland to control the increased release of FSH and its subsequent inhibition in vivo remain unclear. Treatment of ewes with bovine follicular fluid (bFF) during the luteal phase has been previously shown to suppress the plasma concentrations of FSH and, following cessation of treatment on day 11, a rebound release of FSH occurs on days 12 and 13. When luteal regression is induced on day 12, this hypersecretion of FSH results in an increase in follicle growth and ovulation rate. To investigate the mechanisms involved in the control of FSH secretion, ewes were treated with twice daily s.c. injections of 5 ml bFF on days 3–11 of the oestrous cycle and luteal regression was induced on day 12 with prostaglandin (PG). The treated ewes and their controls were then killed on day 11 (luteal), or 16 or 32h after PG and their pituitaries removed and halved. One half was analysed for gonadotrophin and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor content. Total pituitary RNA was extracted from the other half and subjected to Northern analysis using probes for FSH-β, LH-β and common α subunit. Frequent blood samples were taken and assayed for gonadotrophins. FSH secretion was significantly (P<0.01) reduced during bFF treatment throughout the luteal phase and then significantly (P<0.01) increased after cessation of treatment, with maximum secretion being reached 18– 22h after PG, and then declining towards control values by 32h after PG. A similar pattern of LH secretion was seen after bFF treatment. Pituitary FSH content was significantly (P<0.05) reduced by bFF treatment at all stages of the cycle. No difference in the pituitary LH content was seen. The increase in GnRH receptor content after PG in the controls was delayed in the treated animals. Analysis of pituitary mRNA levels revealed that bFF treatment significantly (P<0.01) reduced FSH-β mRNA levels in the luteal phase. Increased levels of FSH-β, LH-β and α subunit mRNA were seen 16h after PG in the bFF-treated animals, at the time when FSH and LH secretion from the pituitary was near maximum. These results suggest that the rebound release of FSH after treatment with bFF (as a source of inhibin) is related to a rapid increase in FSH-β mRNA, supporting the concept that the rate of FSH release is directly related to the rate of synthesis.
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).
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.
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.
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.