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Ewa Łucja Gregoraszczuk and Agnieszka Rak-Mardyła

Evidence from both clinical and animal studies suggests that exposure to excess androgens results in cyst formation. The present in vitro study assessed the effects of supraphysiological concentrations of leptin (20 and 40 ng/ml) on progesterone (P4), androstenedione androstendione (A4), testosterone and estradiol (E2) secretion by ELISA and the expression of CYP11A1, CYP17, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) and CYP19 by western blot to answer the question of whether leptin could be independent risk factor for cyst formation in pigs. Small- and medium-sized ovarian follicles were collected from prepubertal and cycling pigs. Increased P4 and testosterone secretions were observed in both small- and medium-sized follicles in prepubertal and cycling animals whereas there was no change in E2 secretion. Leptin treatment resulted in an increase in CYP11A1 and 17β-HSD protein expression but had no effect on CYP17 and CYP19 expression in follicles of either size from prepubertal and cycling pigs. Results of presented data suggest that leptin in elevated doses, by stimulatory effect on CYP11A1 and 17β-HSD protein expression resulting in elevated P4 and testosterone secretions could be an independent risk factor for cyst formation in both prepubertal and cycling pigs.

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Agnieszka Rak, Eliza Drwal, Anna Wróbel and Ewa Łucja Gregoraszczuk

Previously, we demonstrated the expression of resistin in the porcine ovary, the regulation of its expression and its direct effect on ovarian steroidogenesis. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of resistin on cell proliferation and apoptosis in a co-culture model of porcine granulosa and theca cells. First, we analysed the effect of resistin at 1 and 10 ng/ml alone or in combination with FSH- and IGF1 on ovarian cell proliferation with an alamarBlue assay and protein expression of cyclins A and B using western blot. Next, the mRNA and protein expression of selected pro-apoptotic and pro-survival regulators of cell apoptosis, caspase-9, -8 and -3 activity and DNA fragmentation using real time PCR, western blot, fluorescent assay and an ELISA kit, respectively, were analysed after resistin treatment. Furthermore, we determined the effect of resistin on the protein expression of ERK1/2, Stat and Akt kinase. Using specific inhibitors of these kinases, we also checked caspase-3 activity and protein expression. We found that resistin, at both doses, has no effect on cell proliferation. The results showed that resistin decreased pro-apoptotic genes, which was confirmed on protein expression of selected factors. We demonstrate an inhibitory effect of resistin on caspase activity and DNA fragmentation. Finally, resistin stimulated phosphorylation of the ERK1/2, Stat and Akt and kinases inhibitors reversed resistin action on caspase-3 activity and protein expression to control. All of these results showed that resistin has an inhibitory effect on porcine ovarian cell apoptosis by activation of the MAPK/ERK, JAK/Stat and Akt/PI3 kinase signalling pathways.

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Patrycja Kurowska, Ewa Mlyczyńska, Alix Barbe, Christophe Staub, Ewa Gregoraszczuk, Joëlle Dupont and Agnieszka Rak

Vaspin, also known as visceral adipose tissue-derived serine protease inhibitor, is a member of the serine protease inhibitor family. Its expression is associated with obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and elevated concentration is observed in polycystic ovary syndrome. However, vaspin has never been studied in the ovary. Here, we identified vaspin in two prolific breeds of pigs: fat Meishan (MS) and lean Large White (LW). We then investigated the molecular mechanism involved in the regulation of its expression in response to gonadotropins, insulin, insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1) and steroids (progesterone, testosterone and oestradiol) in ovarian follicles cells. Using real-time PCR and Western blot, we found higher vaspin mRNA and protein expression in the ovarian follicles and adipose tissue at 10–12 days of the oestrous cycle in MS compared to LW. Moreover, vaspin expression, as well as its concentration in plasma and follicular fluid, decreased in ovarian follicles of LW during days of the oestrous cycle, while the opposite results were noted in MS. Immunohistochemistry showed vaspin in granulosa, theca, cumulus cells and oocytes as well as in adipocytes. Vaspin level in the ovary increased by gonadotropin, insulin, IGF-1 and steroids stimulation through kinases JAK/Stat, ERK1/2, PI3K and AMPK, as well as factor NF-κB. These findings all show vaspin expression and regulation in the pig ovary, indicating vaspin as a new regulator in female reproduction. Future studies will be necessary for understanding the role of vaspin on ovarian physiology providing new insights into the pathology of ovaries.