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

Paracrine regulation of ovarian granulosa cell differentiation by stanniocalcin (STC) 1: mediation through specific STC1 receptors.

Stanniocalcin (STC) in fish maintains calcium and phosphate homeostasis, whereas mammalian STC1 shows a diverse tissue expression pattern with ovary exhibiting the highest level. Based on the known expression of STC1 in theca/interstitial cells of the ovary, we generated recombinant N-glycosylated STC1 protein and tested its ability to modulate granulosa cell differentiation. In cultured rat granulosa cells obtained from early antral follicles, treatment with STC1 suppressed FSH-stimulated progesterone biosynthesis with minimal effects on estradiol and cAMP production. In mature granulosa cells, treatment with STC1 also suppressed human chorionic gonadotropin-induced progesterone production. The inhibitory effect of STC1 was accompanied by a pronounced suppression of the CYP11A transcripts and the FSH induction of functional LH receptors. In addition, STC1 was found to act downstream of adenyl cyclases in suppressing progesterone biosynthesis. We also tested the regulation of STC1 gene expression by gonadotropins. Treatment with pregnant mare serum gonadotropin decreased STC1 transcript levels in theca cells of maturing follicles, whereas subsequent treatment with human chorionic gonadotropin led to sustained suppression in the corpora lutea. Using radiolabeled recombinant STC1, receptor assays showed specific STC1 binding with a high affinity to granulosa cells. Because STC1 is expressed in ovarian theca/interstitial cells, the present demonstration of receptor binding and the specific actions of STC1 in granulosa cells suggest the existence of a follicular paracrine system in which theca cell-derived STC1 dampens the gonadotropin stimulation of granulosa cell differentiation. The observed STC1 suppression of progesterone, but not estradiol, production further suggests the potential role of this paracrine hormone as a luteinization inhibitor.[1]


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