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Endocrinology. 1990 Feb;126(2):779-86.

Inhibition of the activities of P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage and 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and the amount of P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage by testosterone and estradiol-17 beta in hen granulosa cells.

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  • 1Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


We have found that androgens and estradiol-17 beta (E2) produced by theca cells suppress progesterone (P4) secretion by granulosa cells of the domestic hen in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, testosterone (T) and E2 inhibited the conversion of cholesterol to pregnenolone (P5) and of P5 to P4, respectively. The aim of this study was to determine if T and E2 suppress P4 biosynthesis by changing activities of the cytochrome P450 cholesterol side chain cleavage (P450scc) and 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta-HSD) (Exp I) and the amount of P450scc (Exp II). Granulosa layers of the largest follicle of two to four hens were obtained 22 h before ovulation, pooled, and isolated granulosa cells were prepared. In Exp I, the specific activities of the P450scc and 3 beta-HSD were measured in mitochondrial and microsomal proteins of granulosa cells, respectively, in the presence of T or E2 (0-10 microM). Addition of T to mitochondrial proteins increased the Michaelis-Menten constant (Km) with no change in the maximum velocity (Vmax) of the P450scc, which suggests competitive inhibition (Ki = 30.9 microM), whereas E2 had no effect on Km and Vmax of the P450scc. Likewise, addition of E2 to microsomal proteins increased the Km with no change in the Vmax of the 3 beta-HSD, which suggests competitive inhibition (Ki = 15.1 microM), whereas T had no effect on Km and Vmax of the 3 beta-HSD. In Exp II, granulosa cells (3 x 10(5)/3 were incubated for 0-12 h in triplicate for each combined treatments of 25-OH-cholesterol (8 microM) and cyanoketone (10 microM), T, or E2 (0-10 microM) in the presence or absence of LH (25 ng). Protein content and P5 secretion were measured and the amount of P450scc was determined by Western blot analysis. Incubation of granulosa cells with T decreased the amount of the P450scc in granulosa cells cultured for 12 h and P5 secretion in granulosa cells cultured for 3 h or longer (P less than 0.05), without a change in protein content and cell viability. Our results suggest that P4 production by granulosa cells is suppressed by T and E2 acting as competitive inhibitors of the P450scc and 3 beta-HSD, respectively, and by T decreasing the amount of the P450scc. We conclude that steroidogenesis in the follicle of the chicken is regulated through the interaction of theca and granulosa layers.

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