Coordinate developmental expression of genes regulating sterol economy and cholesterol side-chain cleavage in the porcine ovary

Holly A. LaVoie, Allison M. Benoit, James C. Garmey, Robert A. Dailey, David J. Wright, Johannes D. Veldhuis

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To investigate the coordinate developmental expression of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase, sterol carrier protein 2 (SCP2), steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR), and cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (P450(scc)) enzyme messages throughout the pig estrous cycle, RNase protection analysis was performed using homologous (partially cloned) porcine sequences. Total RNA was isolated from ovarian tissues from unstimulated prepubertal gilts and gilts stimulated with eCG (Day -3) and hCG (Day 0) to induce follicular growth and ovulation. Specific transcripts (relative to 18S rRNA) were quantified in immature ovaries, preovulatory follicles (≤ 5 mm), corpora lutea (CL), and corpora albicantia. As an index of steroidogenesis, tissue progesterone content (per microgram protein) was low in the unstimulated ovary and preovulatory follicles, and it began to increase 4 days post-hCG, peaked at 12 days, and returned to preovulatory concentrations by 20 days post-hCG. HMG-CoA reductase mRNA was expressed at low levels and did not change significantly throughout the estrous cycle. The amount of LDL receptor mRNA increased approximately 6-fold after eCG stimulation and was expressed at similar concentrations in both preovulatory follicles and functional CL. Expression of SCP2 mRNA did not differ among the four tissue types but tended to be highest in midcycle (Day 12) CL compared other stages of CL (p = 0.007). STAR mRNA expression was minimal in unstimulated ovaries, was higher in preovulatory follicles (p = 0.014), and then rose again in CL (p = 0.009 compared with unstimulated ovary). P450(scc) mRNA concentrations were low in unstimulated ovaries, increased in preovulatory follicles (p = 0.044), and increased further in CL (p = 0.001 compared with preovulatory follicles). P450(scc) and STAR mRNA levels correlated with progesterone levels (r = +0.37, p = 0.025, and r = +0.71, p < 0.001, respectively). The expression of LDL receptor, STAR, and P450(scc) messages showed a dramatic decline by Day 20 post-hCG (p = 0.002, p = 0.003, p = 0.006, respectively, compared with CL) corresponding with functional regression of the CL. In summary, P450(scc) and StAR message expression are coordinately amplified during the pig follicular and luteal phase, whereas LDL receptor message after an initial increase is expressed at constitutively high levels, thus indicating a differential regulation of ovarian sterol-metabolizing genes during the steroidogenic life of the follicle and CL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-407
Number of pages6
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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