Regulation of pituitary inhibin/activin subunits and follistatin gene expression by GnRH in female rats

Petra Popovics, Zoltan Rekasi, Alan J. Stewart, Magdolna Kovacs

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Pituitary inhibin B, activin B, and follistatin are local regulators of FSH. Activin B is a homodimeric molecule (βB-βB), while inhibin B contains an a and a βB subunit. The regulation of gene expression of α, βB, and follistatin by local and endocrine hormones was examined in pituitaries from female rats and in perifused pituitary cells by RT-PCR. Ovariectomy (OVX) induced an elevation in the mRNA level of α and βB subunits and follistatin. Short-term (4 h) treatment of pituitary cells with GnRH decreased both the inhibin α and the inhibin/activin βB subunit mRNA levels, while long-term treatment (20 h) with 100 nM GnRH stimulated the expression of both subunits. In contrast, the mRNA level of follistatin was elevated after the short-term GnRH treatment. Long-term exposure of pituitary cells to estradiol and inhibin B suppressed the mRNA expression of βB and had no effect on the expression of α subunit and follistatin. Our results demonstrate that the increased expressions of inhibin/activin subunits and follistatin in the post-OVX period can be induced by the lack of gonadal negative feedback, resulting in a high GnRH environment in the pituitary. This study reports for the first time that GnRH administered in high doses and for a long period stimulates the gene expression of inhibin/activin subunits and thereby may contribute to the stimulatory effect of OVX on the expression of these genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-79
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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