Glucocorticoids (GCs) such as cortisol and corticosterone are important steroid hormones with different functions in intermediate metabolism, development, cell differentiation, immune response and reproduction. In response to physiological and immunological stress, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) acts on the adrenal gland by stimulating the synthesis and secretion of GCs. However, there is increasing evidence that GCs may also be synthesized by extra-adrenal tissues. Here, we examined the gene and protein expression of the enzyme 11β-hydroxylase P450c11 (CYP11B1), involved in the conversion of 11-deoxycortisol to cortisol, in the different components of the bovine ovary and determined the functionality of CYP11B1 in vitro. CYP11B1 mRNA was expressed in granulosa and theca cells in small, medium and large antral ovarian follicles, and CYP11B1 protein was expressed in medium and large antral follicles. After stimulation by ACTH, we observed an increased secretion of cortisol by the wall of large antral follicles. We also observed a concentration-dependent decrease in the concentration of cortisol in response to metyrapone, an inhibitor of CYP11B1. This decrease was significant at 10−5 µM metyrapone. In conclusion, this study demonstrated for the first time the presence of CYP11B1 in the bovine ovary. This confirms that there could be a local synthesis of GCs in the bovine ovary and therefore a potential endocrine responder to stress through these hormones.
A N Amweg, F M Rodríguez, E Huber, B E Marelli, N C Gareis, E M Belotti, F Rey, N R Salvetti and H H Ortega
Pablo U Díaz, Gustavo J Hein, Eduardo M Belotti, Fernanda M Rodríguez, Florencia Rey, Ayelén N Amweg, Valentina Matiller, María E Baravalle, Hugo H Ortega and Natalia R Salvetti
Cystic ovarian disease (COD) is an important cause of subfertility in dairy cattle. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), mainly BMP2, BMP4 and BMP6, play a key role in female fertility. In this study, we hypothesized that an altered BMP system is associated with ovarian alterations contributing to COD pathogenesis. Therefore, we examined the expression of BMP2, BMP4 and BMP6 and BMP receptor 1B (BMPR1B) in the ovaries of animals with spontaneous or ACTH-induced COD, as well as during the development of the disease, in a model of follicular persistence induced by low doses of progesterone (at 5, 10 and 15 days of follicular persistence). Results showed changes in BMP2, BMP4 and BMP6 expression during folliculogenesis, in granulosa and theca cells in the COD groups, as well as at different stages of follicular persistence. Results also showed changes in BMPR1B expression in developing follicles in animals with COD, and at the initial stages of follicular persistence (P5). Comparison between groups showed significant differences, mainly in BMP4 and BMP6 expression, in granulosa and theca cells of different follicular categories. The expression of these BMPs also increased in cystic and persistent follicles, in relation to antral follicles of the control group. BMPR1B showed high expression in cystic follicles. Together, these results may indicate an alteration in BMPs, especially in BMP4 and BMP6, as well as in BMPR1B, which occurs early in folliculogenesis and incipiently during the development of COD, which could be a major cause of recurrence of this disease in cattle.
Free Spanish abstract: A Spanish translation of this abstract is freely available at http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/152/4/333.abstract.