In the present study, we investigated the cellular mechanism by which oocytes and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) govern FSH-induced steroidogenesis using rat primary granulosa cells. BMP-6 and BMP-7 both inhibited FSH- and forskolin (FSK)-induced progesterone synthesis and reduced cAMP synthesis independent of the presence or absence of oocytes. BMP-7 also increased FSH-induced estradiol production, and the response was further augmented in the presence of oocytes. In contrast, BMP-6 had no impact on estradiol synthesis regardless of the presence of oocytes. Because BMP-7 changed neither FSK- nor cAMP-induced estradiol production, the BMP-7 action was mediated through a FSH receptor signaling mechanism that was independent of cAMP-protein kinase A pathway. Treatment with FSH but not cAMP activated ERK1/2 phosphorylation in granulosa cells, which was further accelerated by oocytes. A specific ERK inhibitor, U0126, increased estradiol production and decreased FSH- and FSK-induced progesterone production and cAMP synthesis. This suggests that ERK activation is directly linked to inhibition of estradiol synthesis and amplification of cAMP. Moreover, FSH-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation was inhibited by BMP-7 but not influenced by BMP-6. In contrast, BMP signaling including Smad1/5/8 phosphorylation and Id-1 transcription was up-regulated by FSH and oocytes in granulosa cells through inhibition of Smad6/7 expression. Collectively, oocytes enhance FSH-induced MAPK activation and BMP signaling in granulosa cells, which leads to differential regulation of steroidogenesis elicited by BMPs in the presence of FSH in developing follicles.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism