Reproductive biology and endocrinology : RB&E

Feedback inhibition of CREB signaling by p38 MAPK contributes to the negative regulation of steroidogenesis.

PMID 28302174


Steroidogenesis is a complex, multi-steps biological process in which, cholesterol precursor is converted to steroids in a tissue specific and tropic hormone dependent manner. Given that steroidogenesis is achieved by coordinated functioning of multiple tissue specific enzymes, many steroids intermediates/metabolites are generated during this process. Both the steroid products as well as major lipoprotein cholesterol donor, high-density lipoprotein 3 (hHDL3) have the potential to negatively regulate steroidogenesis via increased oxidative stress/reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In the current study, we examined the effects of treatment of a mouse model of steroidogenesis, Y1-BS1 adrenocortical tumor cells with pregnenolone, 22(R)-Hydroxycholesterol [22(R)-diol] or hHDL3 on ROS production, phosphorylation status of p38 MAPK and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), CREB transcriptional activity and mRNA expression of StAR, CPY11A1/P450scc and antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutases [Cu,ZnSOD (SOD1), MnSOD (SOD2)], catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX1). We also detected the steroid product in p38 MAPK inhibitor treated Y1 cells by HPLC-MS / MS. Treatment of Y1 cells with H2O2 greatly enhanced the phosphorylation of both p38 MAPK and CREB protein. Likewise, treatment of cells with pregnenolone, 22(R) diol or hHDL3 increased ROS production measured with the oxidation-sensitive fluorescent probe 2',7'-Dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA). Under identical experimental conditions, treatment of cells with these agents also increased the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and CREB. This increased CREB phosphorylation however, was associated with its decreased transcriptional activity. The stimulatory effects of pregnenolone, 22(R)-diol and hHDL3 on CREB phosphorylation was abolished by a specific p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580. Pregnenolone, and 22(R) diol but not hHDL3 upregulated the mRNA expression of SOD1, SOD2 and GPX1, while down-regulated the mRNA levels of StAR and CYP11A1. The p38 inhibitor SB203580 could increase the steroid production in HDL3, 22(R)-diol or pregnenolone treated cells. Our data demonstrate induction of a ROS/p38 MAPK -mediated feedback inhibitory pathway by oxy-cholesterol and steroid intermediates and products attenuates steroidogenesis via inhibition of CREB transcriptional activity.

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5-Pregnen-3β-ol-20-one, ≥98%