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Biol Reprod. 1997 Sep;57(3):547-51.

Corticotropin-releasing hormone stimulates the expression of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein in MA-10 mouse cells.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Medical College, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


We have previously demonstrated that corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) treatment of MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cells results in a dose-dependent stimulation of progesterone production. In view of this observation we wished to determine the effects of CRH on the synthesis of the steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein in these cells. StAR is a steroidogenic tissue-specific, hormone-induced, rapidly synthesized protein previously shown to be involved in the acute regulation of steroidogenesis, probably by promoting the transfer of cholesterol to the inner mitochondrial membrane and the cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme. Treatment of MA-10 cells with the cAMP analogue dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) resulted in a dose- and time-dependent increase in the levels of StAR protein that reached a maximum at 800 microM dbcAMP and within a time period of 6 h. Further, treatment of MA-10 cells with CRH also resulted in a dose-dependent increase in the synthesis of the StAR protein with a maximal response observed at 1 microM. Slightly different from that observed with dbcAMP, the maximal response to 1 microM CRH was seen at 4 h following stimulation. These results indicate that the observed increase in steroid production in response to CRH in MA-10 Leydig tumor cells is similar to that previously seen with trophic hormone stimulation acting through the cAMP second messenger pathway, and that it occurs as a result of an increase in the synthesis of the StAR protein.

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