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

Hormonal regulation of human follicle-stimulating hormone-beta subunit gene expression: GnRH stimulation and GnRH-independent androgen inhibition.

Previous studies from our laboratory demonstrated that chronic testosterone administration to castrated transgenic mice suppressed human follicle-stimulating hormone-beta (FSH beta) mRNA levels transcribed from a human transgene to approximately 20% of control values. In the present study we used primary pituitary cultures prepared from the transgenic mice and in vivo experiments in hypogonadal (hpg) mice carrying the human transgene to assess the role of hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in this inhibitory action. The levels of human FSH beta mRNA in monolayer cultures of pituitary cells were decreased by 24-hour treatments with 10 nM testosterone propionate or 5 alpha-dihydrotestosterone to 13 and 26% of control values, respectively, in the absence of GnRH. For the in vivo experiments we introduced the 10-kb human FSH beta transgene into the hpg genetic background by selective crossbreeding. Daily injections of 1 microgram GnRH for 14 days induced expression of the human FSH beta gene in male and female mice. Maximal effects were obtained by GnRH treatment of gonadectomized, hpg transgenic mice. Human FSH beta mRNA levels rose to approximately 4- or 10-fold that of control males and females, respectively. The stimulation was blocked completely by simultaneous administration of testosterone propionate in males and partially by estradiol in females. Pituitary content of immunoreactive FSH paralleled the mRNA changes. These data suggest that testosterone feedback inhibits the human FSH beta subunit gene directly at the pituitary gland in addition to the indirect mechanism of GnRH suppression. Furthermore, the in vitro data indicate that the suppression of human FSH beta gene expression is at least partly a direct androgen effect that does not require aromatization of testosterone to estradiol.[1]


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