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Deepak S Hiremath, Fernanda B M Priviero, R Clinton Webb, CheMyong Ko, and Prema Narayan

Timely activation of the luteinizing hormone receptor (LHCGR) is critical for fertility. Activating mutations in LHCGR cause familial male-limited precocious puberty (FMPP) due to premature synthesis of testosterone. A mouse model of FMPP (KiLHRD582G), expressing a constitutively activating mutation in LHCGR, was previously developed in our laboratory. KiLHRD582G mice became progressively infertile due to sexual dysfunction and exhibited smooth muscle loss and chondrocyte accumulation in the penis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that KiLHRD582G mice had erectile dysfunction due to impaired smooth muscle function. Apomorphine-induced erection studies determined that KiLHRD582G mice had erectile dysfunction. Penile smooth muscle and endothelial function were assessed using penile cavernosal strips. Penile endothelial cell content was not changed in KiLHRD582G mice. The maximal relaxation response to acetylcholine and the nitric oxide donor, sodium nitroprusside, was significantly reduced in KiLHRD582G mice indicating an impairment in the nitric oxide (NO)-mediated signaling. Cyclic GMP (cGMP) levels were significantly reduced in KiLHRD582G mice in response to acetylcholine, sodium nitroprusside and the soluble guanylate cyclase stimulator, BAY 41-2272. Expression of NOS1, NOS3 and PKRG1 were unchanged. The Rho-kinase signaling pathway for smooth muscle contraction was not altered. Together, these data indicate that KiLHRD582G mice have erectile dysfunction due to impaired NO-mediated activation of soluble guanylate cyclase resulting in decreased levels of cGMP and penile smooth muscle relaxation. These studies in the KiLHRD582G mice demonstrate that activating mutations in the mouse LHCGR cause erectile dysfunction due to impairment of the NO-mediated signaling pathway in the penile smooth muscle.

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José E Sánchez-Criado, Kourtney Trudgen, Yolanda Millán, Alfonso Blanco, José Monterde, José C Garrido-Gracia, Ana Gordon, Rafaela Aguilar, Juana Martín de las Mulas, and CheMyong Ko

Estrogen receptor 1 and 2 (ESR1 and 2) mediate estrogen (E) action on gonadotrope function. While much is known about the effects of ESR1 on the gonadotrope, there is still some controversy regarding the effects of ESR2. To investigate the role of ESR2 in the gonadotrope, 45-day-old female mice of two different genotypes were used: wild type (WT) and pituitary (gonadotropes and thyrotropes)-specific Esr1 knockout (KO). All mice were ovariectomized (OVX) and 15 days later injected over 3 days with 2.5 μg 17β-estradiol (E2), 0.2 mg of the selective ESR1 or 2 agonists, propylpyrazole triol and diarylpropionitrile, respectively, or 0.1 ml oil. The day after treatment, anterior pituitary glands were dissected out for evaluation of gonadotrope ultrastructural morphology and pituitary immunohistochemical expression of progesterone receptor (Pgr (Pr)). Blood was collected and serum LH levels were assessed. Activation of ESR1 in WT mice resulted in the following: i) uterine ballooning and vaginal cornification, ii) negative feedback on LH secretion, iii) increased number of homogeneous (functional) gonadotropes, and iv) pituitary Pgr expression (35.9±2.0% of pituitary cells). Activation of ESR1 in KO mice induced normal uterine, vaginal, and LH secretion responses, but failed to increase the number of functional gonadotropes, and induced significantly lower Pgr expression (21.0±3.0% of pituitary cells) than in WT mice. Whilst activation of ESR2 had no significant effects in WT mice, it doubled the number of functional gonadotropes exhibited by KO mice injected with oil. It is concluded that E2 exerted its action in KO mouse gonadotropes via ESR2.

Free access

CheMyong J Ko, Yoon Min Cho, Eugene Ham, Joseph A Cacioppo, and Chan Jin Park

Ovulation is the fundamental biological process during which an oocyte is expelled from the ovary, and it is an essential step toward establishing a pregnancy. Understanding regulatory mechanisms governing the ovulation process is essential for diagnosing and treating causes of infertility, identifying contraceptive targets, and developing novel contraception methods. Endothelin-2 (EDN2) is a 21 amino acid-long peptide that is transiently synthesized by granulosa cells of the ovulatory follicle prior to ovulation and plays an essential role in ovulation via promoting contraction in the myofibroblast cells of the theca layer of the follicle. This review describes the organization of the endothelin system, summarizes recent findings on the expression and synthesis of the endothelin system in the ovary, illustrates the roles that EDN2 plays in regulating ovulation, and discusses EDN2 as a potential target of contraception.