Molecular and cellular endocrinology

Regulation of inhibin/activin expression in rat early antral follicles.

PMID 19464342


The aim of the present study was to determine the endocrine activity of cultured early antral follicles (EAF) isolated from prepubertal diethylstilbestrol-treated rats. The effect of steroidogenic substrates and FSH on steroid, inhibin A and B, Pro-alphaC and activin A production was evaluated. Androsterone was the predominant steroid produced by EAF. The addition of androstenedione, androstenedione+FSH and progesterone stimulated oestradiol production, whereas 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-OH-Chol) increased progesterone production. Inhibin A, B, Pro-alphaC, and activin A were produced under basal conditions. The predominance of inhibin B over inhibin A was not affected by the addition of androstenedione or progesterone. Inhibin A and activin A production was stimulated by FSH. 25-OH-Chol increased Inha, Inhba and Inhbb mRNA expression and the production of the three molecular forms of inhibins but decreased activin A production. These results show that FSH and the steroid follicular microenvironment differentially modulate the gene expression of inhibin/activin subunits, their assembly and secretion.