Ghrelin Inhibits Steroid Biosynthesis by Cultured Granulosa-Lutein Cells
Isabella Viani, Alessandra Vottero, Francesco Tassi, Giulia Cremonini, Chiara Sartori, Sergio Bernasconi, Bruno Ferrari and Lucia Ghizzoni
Departments of Pediatrics (I.V., A.V., F.T., G.C., C.S., S.B., L.G.) and Gynecology-Obstetrics and Neonatology (B.F.), University of Parma, 43100 Parma, Italy
Address all correspondence and requests for reprints to: Lucia Ghizzoni, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43100 Parma, Italy. E-mail: email@example.com
Context: Growing evidence indicates that ghrelin may participate in the regulation of different aspects of reproductive function. The genes encoding for this peptide and its receptor are expressed in the human ovary, but their functional role is still unknown.
Objective: The aim of our study was to assess whether ghrelin has any effect on steroid synthesis by human granulosa-lutein cells and to identify the receptor isoform through which this potential effect is exerted.
Design, Patients, and Methods: Thirty-five women with spontaneous ovulatory cycles undergoing in vitro fertilization for infertility due to uni- or bilateral tubal impatency or male factor were studied. Granulosa-lutein cells obtained from follicular fluid were incubated with increasing amounts of human acylated ghrelin (10–11 to 10–7 mol/liter) either alone or together with a 1:500 concentration of a specific anti-ghrelin receptor antibody [GH secretagogue receptor 1a (GHS-R1a)]. Culture media were tested for estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4). The expression of GHS-R1a and GHS-R1b in human granulosa-lutein cells was also studied by real-time quantitative PCR.
Results: E2 and P4 concentrations in the culture media were significantly reduced by ghrelin in a dose-dependent fashion. The maximal decrease in E2 (25%) and P4 (20%) media concentrations was obtained with the 10–7 and 10–8 mol/liter ghrelin concentrations, respectively. The inhibitory effect of all ghrelin concentrations used was antagonized by the specific anti-ghrelin receptor-1a antibody added to the culture media and not by the specific anti-ghrelin receptor-1b antibody. Both 1a and 1b isoforms of the GHS-R were expressed in human granulosa-lutein cells, with the latter exceeding the former’s expression (GHS-R1b/GHS-R1a ratio, 143.23 ± 28.15).
Conclusions: Ghrelin exerts an inhibitory effect on granulosa-lutein cells steroidogenesis
by acting through its functional GHS-R1a. This suggests that ghrelin may serve an autocrine-paracrine role in the control of gonadal function
and be part of a network of molecular signals responsible for the coordinated control of energy homeostasis and reproduction. http://jcem.endojournals.org/cgi/con...ract/93/4/1476