The Journal of reproduction and development

RNAi-mediated knockdown of INHBB increases apoptosis and inhibits steroidogenesis in mouse granulosa cells.

PMID 26063610


Inhibins are members of the TGFβ superfamily and act as suppressors of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion from pituitary glands via a negative feedback mechanism to regulate folliculogenesis. In this study, the INHBB gene was knocked down by three RNAi-Ready pSIREN-RetroQ-ZsGreen vector- mediated recombinant plasmids to explore the effects of INHBB silencing on granulosa cell (GC) cell cycle, apoptosis and steroid production in vitro. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot, flow cytometry and ELISA were performed to evaluate the role of INHBB in the mouse GC cell cycle, apoptosis and steroid production in vitro. The results showed that the relative mRNA and protein expression of INHBB in mouse GCs can be significantly reduced by RNAi with pshRNA-B1, pshRNA-B2 and pshRNA-B3 plasmids, with pshRNA-B3 having the best knockdown efficiency. Downregulation of the expression of INHBB significantly arrests cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle and increases the apoptosis rate in GCs. This was further confirmed by downregulation of the protein expressions of Cyclin D1, Cyclin E and Bcl2, while the protein expression of Bax was upregulated. In addition, specific downregulation of INHBB markedly decreased the concentration of estradiol and progesterone, which was further validated by the decrease in the mRNA levels of CYP19A1 and CYP11A1. These findings suggest that inhibin βB is important in the regulation of apoptosis and cell cycle progression in granulosa cells. Furthermore, the inhibin βB subunit has a role in the regulation of steroid hormone biosynthesis. Evidence is accumulating to support the concept that inhibin βB is physiologically essential for early folliculogenesis in the mouse.