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

Ovarian activin receptor subtype and follistatin gene expression in rats: reciprocal regulation by gonadotropins.

The production of activin, follistatin (FS), and inhibin, proteins present in the ovary and involved in mammalian reproduction, is regulated by gonadotropins and estradiol. We report here gonadotropin regulation of ovarian activin receptor (ActR) subtype and FS mRNAs. Expression of ActRI, ActRIIA, ActRIIB, and FS mRNA was measured on the afternoon of proestrus (1800 h) and the morning of estrus (0800 h). ActRI and ActIIA subtype mRNA concentrations fell by approximately 50% (p < 0.05) following the proestrous gonadotropin surge (ActRIIB mRNA was undetectable), while FS mRNA was unchanged. To define the contribution of gonadotropins, hypophysectomized (HYPOX) female rats were given recombinant human (rh) FSH and hCG, which decreased both ActR mRNAs (by approximately 70% and aproximately 50% for ActRI and IIA, respectively) and increased FS mRNA by 2-fold. As gonadotropins could act via estradiol (E2), HYPOX rats were given E2; ActRI was decreased, but ActRIIA mRNA was increased. The actions of gonadotropins were preferential, as the combination of rhFSH and hCG with E2 reduced ActRIIA mRNA. FS mRNA was increased to a similar degree by E2 and/or gonadotropins. These data suggest that gonadotropins regulate ActR and FS gene expression via multiple mechanisms. Both a direct action on ActRIIA (inhibition) and an indirect action through E2 on ActRI (inhibition) and FS (stimulation) suggest potential physiologic mechanisms for the reciprocal regulation of ActR subtype and FS mRNAs.[1]


  1. Ovarian activin receptor subtype and follistatin gene expression in rats: reciprocal regulation by gonadotropins. Aloi, J.A., Marshall, J.C., Yasin, M., Gilrain, J.T., Haisenleder, D.J., Dalkin, A.C. Biol. Reprod. (1997) [Pubmed]
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