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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation of FSHbeta and GnRH receptor gene expression in activin receptor II knockout male mice.

To examine in vivo, the local effects of inhibins and activins within the anterior pituitary, independent of their endocrine effects exerted from the gonad, in mediating FSH homeostasis, we used castrated knockout mice lacking either inhibin alpha or activin receptor II (ACVR2) alone or in combination. Compared to castrated wild-type (WT) mice, FSHbeta mRNA levels in the pituitaries of Acvr2 null mice were significantly downregulated in the absence of gonadal feedback. FSHbeta mRNA levels were not significantly higher in the pituitaries of castrated inhibin alpha null mice compared to those in Acvr2 null mice and remained the same in the pituitaries of castrated double mutant mice lacking both inhibin and ACVR2. In contrast to FSHbeta mRNA expression changes, pituitary FSH content was significantly reduced in Acvr2 null mice whereas it was only slightly upregulated in inhibin alpha null mice. Combined absence of both ACVR2 signaling and inhibins caused a decrease in FSH content compared to that in the absence of inhibins alone. These changes in pituitary content were in parallel to those in serum FSH levels in these three groups of castrated mice, suggesting that the unopposed actions of locally produced inhibins are dominant over those effects mediated by ACVR2 signaling to regulate FSH biosynthesis and secretion. Thus, our in vivo results demonstrate that within the pituitary, locally produced activins and inhibins exert their actions at distinct phases of FSH homeostasis. In an independent set of experiments, we tested whether in vivo signaling via ACVR2 is necessary for hypothalamic GnRH biosynthesis and for GnRH receptor expression. Our results demonstrate that in contrast to previous in vitro studies, signaling through ACVR2 is neither required for hypothalamic synthesis of GnRH peptide nor for expression of GnRH receptors in the anterior pituitary. We conclude that within the hypothalamic-pituitary short loop, ACVR2 signaling is critical only for FSH homeostasis and not for GnRH biosynthesis or induction of pituitary GnRH receptor expression. Our studies confirm the importance of using in vivo genetic models for studying regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis.[1]


  1. Regulation of FSHbeta and GnRH receptor gene expression in activin receptor II knockout male mice. Kumar, T.R., Agno, J., Janovick, J.A., Conn, P.M., Matzuk, M.M. Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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