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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Follicle-stimulating hormone and estradiol interact to stimulate glutathione synthesis in rat ovarian follicles and granulosa cells.

  • Author(s): Hoang, YD
  • Nakamura, BN
  • Luderer, U
  • et al.

Glutathione (GSH), the most abundant intracellular nonprotein thiol, is critical for many cellular functions. The rate-limiting step in GSH synthesis is catalyzed by glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL), a heterodimer composed of a catalytic (GCLC) and a modifier (GCLM) subunit. The tissue-specific regulation of GSH synthesis is poorly understood. We showed previously that gonadotropin hormones regulate ovarian GSH synthesis. In the present study, we sought to clarify the ovarian cell type-specific effects of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estradiol on GSH synthesis. Immature female rats were treated with estradiol to stimulate development of small antral follicles. Granulosa cells (GCs) from these follicles or whole follicles were cultured in serum-free media, with or without FSH and 17beta-estradiol. The GSH and GCLC protein and mRNA levels increased in GCs treated with FSH alone. The effects of FSH on GCLC and GCLM protein and mRNA levels, GCL enzymatic activity, and GSH concentrations in GCs were significantly enhanced by the addition of estradiol. Estradiol alone had no effects on GSH. Dibromo-cAMP mimicked and protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitors prevented FSH stimulation of GCL subunit protein levels. In cultured small antral follicles, FSH stimulated estradiol synthesis and robustly increased GCL subunit mRNA and protein levels and GSH concentrations. The GCL subunit mRNA expression increased in both the granulosa cells and theca cells of follicles with FSH stimulation. These data demonstrate that maximal stimulation of GSH synthesis by FSH in granulosa cells and follicles requires estradiol. Without estradiol, FSH causes lesser increases in GCL subunit expression via a PKA-dependent pathway.

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