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Endocrinology. 2008 Jan;149(1):139-45. Epub 2007 Oct 11.

Pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulation of gonadotropin subunit transcription in rat pituitaries: evidence for the involvement of Jun N-terminal kinase but not p38.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


We investigated whether Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 mediate gonadotropin subunit transcriptional responses to pulsatile GnRH in normal rat pituitaries. A single pulse of GnRH or vehicle was given to female rats in vivo, pituitaries collected, and phosphorylated JNK and p38 measured. GnRH stimulated an increase in JNK phosphorylation within 5 min, which peaked 15 min after GnRH (3-fold). GnRH also increased p38 phosphorylation 2.3-fold 15 min after stimulus. Rat pituitary cells were given 60-min pulses of GnRH or media plus the JNK inhibitor SP600125 (SP, 20 microM), p38 inhibitor SB203580 (20 microM), or vehicle. In vehicle-treated groups, GnRH pulses increased LHbeta and FSHbeta primary transcript (PT) levels 3-fold. SP suppressed both basal and GnRH-induced increases in FSHbeta PT by half, but the magnitude of responses to GnRH was unchanged. In contrast, SP had no effect on basal LHbeta PT but suppressed the stimulatory response to GnRH. SB203580 had no effect on the actions of GnRH on either LH or FSHbeta PTs. Lbeta-T2 cells were transfected with dominant/negative expression vectors for MAPK kinase (MKK)-4 and/or MKK-7 plus a rat LHbeta promoter-luciferase construct. GnRH stimulated a 50-fold increase in LHbeta promoter activity, and the combination of MKK-4 and -7 dominant/negatives suppressed the response by 80%. Thus, JNK (but not p38) regulates both LHbeta and FSHbeta transcription in a differential manner. For LHbeta, JNK is essential in mediating responses to pulsatile GnRH. JNK also regulates FSHbeta transcription (i.e. maintaining basal expression) but does not play a role in responses to GnRH.

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