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Endocrinology. 1996 Oct;137(10):4277-84.

Pituitary follistatin and inhibin subunit messenger ribonucleic acid levels are differentially regulated by local and hormonal factors.

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Clayton Foundation Laboratories for Peptide Biology, Salk Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Follistatins, activins, and inhibins are expressed in a wide range of tissues where they function as autocrine and/or paracrine factors. Activin B (beta B beta B) and inhibin B (alpha beta B) are the predominant forms expressed in the rat anterior pituitary. This study was designed to evaluate the regulation of the messenger RNAs (mRNAs) for inhibin alpha and beta B, and follistatin, relative to each other, using cultured rat anterior pituitary cells. Activin A stimulated follistatin (a maximal 4-fold stimulation by 6 h) and beta B (a maximal 1.7-fold stimulation after 2 h) mRNA levels. Although inhibin A dramatically decreased follistatin mRNA levels (34% of the control value after 24 h), it only marginally affected those of beta B (86% of the control value after 2 h). Follistatin inhibited the accumulation of its own mRNA (46% of the control value after 6 h), but had no statistically significant effect on beta B or alpha mRNA levels. Inhibin A was the only treatment that had an effect on alpha mRNA levels, causing a slight decrease (82% of the control value by 24 h). The effects of activin A and inhibin A on follistatin and beta B mRNA levels were dose dependent. Moreover, follistatin and inhibin A blocked the effects of activin A. Immunoneutralization experiments were performed to determine whether locally secreted activin B regulates the expression of these three mRNAs. A monoclonal antibody to activin B reduced follistatin and beta B mRNA levels (37% and 73% of the control value, respectively) and enhanced the stimulatory effect of exogenous activin A on these mRNAs (840% vs. 300% and 170% vs. 145% of the control value, respectively); there was no change in alpha mRNA accumulation. GnRH and activators of the protein kinase A (forskolin) and protein kinase C (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol acetate) pathways also had differential effects on follistatin, beta B, and alpha mRNA levels. GnRH stimulated follistatin mRNA levels, but suppressed those of beta B. 12-O-Tetraphorbol acetate had no effect on beta B, but stimulated follistatin mRNA levels to the same extent as forskolin. Of these agents, only forskolin produced a marginal inhibitory effect on alpha mRNA accumulation. Testosterone decreased both follistatin and beta B mRNA levels without affecting those of alpha. The results of this study demonstrate that the local production of rat anterior pituitary follistatin, activin B, and inhibin B is regulated by hypothalamic, peripheral, and local factors in such a way that the ratios between activin B and its two inactivators, follistatin and inhibin B, are very tightly maintained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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