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Xing Du, Qiqi Li, Zengxiang Pan, and Qifa Li

Androgen, which acts via the androgen receptor (AR), plays crucial roles in mammalian ovarian function. Recent studies showed that androgen/AR signaling regulates follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) expression in follicles; however, the detailed mechanism underlying this regulation remained unknown. Here, we demonstrate that AR and miR-126* cooperate to inhibit FSHR expression and function in pig follicular granulosa cells (pGCs). In pGCs, overexpression of AR decreased, whereas knockdown increased, FSHR mRNA and protein expression; however, neither manipulation affected FSHR promoter activity. Using a dual-luciferase reporter assay, we found that the FSHR gene is a direct target of miR-126*, which inhibits FSHR expression and increases the rate of AR-induced apoptosis in pGCs. Collectively, our data show for the first time that the AR/miR-126* axis exerts synergetic effects in the regulation of FSHR expression and apoptosis in pGCs. Our findings thus define a novel pathway, AR/miR-126*/FSHR, that regulates mammalian GC functions.

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Xiaoheng Li, Lanlan Chen, Yiyan Wang, Huitao Li, Qiqi Zhu, and Ren-Shan Ge

In brief

Glucagon-like peptide-1 stimulates stem Leydig cell development. Glucagon-like peptide-1 stimulates stem Leydig cell differentiation without affecting its proliferation.


The regulators of stem Leydig cell (SLC) development remain largely unknown. The effect of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) on rat SLC proliferation and differentiation was investigated using a 3D tissue culture system and an ethane dimethane sulfonate (EDS)-treated in vivo LC regeneration model. RNA-seq analysis was performed to analyze pathways in which GLP-1 may be involved. GLP-1 (3 and 30 nmol/L) significantly increased medium testosterone abundances and upregulated the expression of Scarb1, Cyp11a1, and Hsd11b1. GLP-1 in vitro did not affect SLC proliferation by 5-Ethynyl-2’- deoxyuridine (EdU) incorporation assay. Intratesticular injection of GLP-1 (10 and 100 ng/testis) into the LC-depleted testis from day 14 to day 28 post-EDS significantly increased serum testosterone abundances and upregulated the expression of Cyp11a1, Hsd3b1, and Hsd11b1. It did not affect the number of HSD11B1+ and CYP11A1+ LCs. RNA-seq analysis revealed that GLP-1 upregulated several pathways, including cAMP-PKA-EPAC1 and MEK/ERK1/2. GLP-1 stimulates SLC differentiation without affecting its proliferation, showing its novel action and mechanism on rat SLC development.