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Life Sci. 2006 May 15;78(25):2923-30. Epub 2005 Dec 19.

Ca2+ signal stimulates the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein and steroidogenesis in bovine adrenal fasciculata-reticularis cells.

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Faculty of Integrated Arts and Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-7-1 Kagamiyama, 739-8524, Japan.


Adrenal glucocorticoid synthesis is stimulated by ACTH or its nitrophenylsulphenyl derivative, NPS-ACTH. Acute stimulation of steroid hormone biosynthesis is highly dependent on the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein. To determine the regulatory mechanism of StAR expression in bovine fasciculata/reticularis cells, we analyzed the second messenger systems involved in StAR protein expression using cultured cells activated by ACTH and NPS-ACTH. We concluded that cAMP is not the essential second messenger for StAR protein expression, since NPS-ACTH activated StAR protein expression more than ACTH without increase in cellular cAMP. A 15-lipoxygenase metabolite(s) of arachidonic acid stimulated steroidogenesis without increase in StAR protein expression, since AA-861, a lipoxygenase inhibitor, inhibited steroidogenesis without affecting StAR protein expression. Stimulation of StAR protein expression and the corresponding increase in the steroidogenesis were inhibited by nicardipine in cells treated with ACTH or NPS-ACTH. These data indicate that the dominant second messenger for the stimulation of StAR protein expression is Ca2+. Calmodulin-dependent kinase II inhibitors KN-93 and KN-62 suppressed steroidogenic activity without affecting StAR expression. The protein kinase C inhibitor Ro 31-8220 did not show any effects on StAR expression and steroidogenesis. Calmodulin-dependent kinase II and protein kinase C can therefore be concluded not to be involved in StAR protein expression in bovine cells.

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