Recent studies have shown that bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are important regulators in the pituitary-gonadal endocrine axis. We here investigated the effects of BMPs on GNRH production controlled by estrogen using murine GT1-7 hypothalamic neuron cells. GT1-7 cells expressed estrogen receptor α (ERα; ESR1 as listed in MGI Database), ERβ (ESR2 as listed in MGI Database), BMP receptors, SMADs, and a binding protein follistatin. Treatment with BMP2 and BMP4 had no effect on Gnrh mRNA expression; however, BMP6 and BMP7 significantly increased Gnrh mRNA expression as well as GnRH production by GT1-7 cells. Notably, the reduction of Gnrh expression caused by estradiol (E2) was restored by cotreatment with BMP2 and BMP4, whereas it was not affected by BMP6 or BMP7. E2 activated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) signaling but did not activate p38-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling in GT1-7 cells. Inhibition of ERK1/ERK2 reversed the inhibitory effect of estrogen on Gnrh expression, whereas SAPK/JNK inhibition did not affect the E2 actions. Expression levels of Erα and Erβ were reduced by BMP2 and BMP4, but were increased by BMP6 and BMP7. Treatment with an ER antagonist inhibited the E2 effects on Gnrh suppression including reduction of E2-induced ERK phosphorylation, suggesting the involvement of genomic ER actions in Gnrh suppression. BMP2 and BMP4 also suppressed estrogen-induced phosphorylation of ERK1/ERK2 and SAPK/JNK signaling, suggesting that BMP2 and BMP4 downregulate estrogen effects by attenuating ER-MAPK signaling. Considering that BMP6 and BMP7 increased the expression of α1E-subunit of R-type calcium channel (Cacna1e), which is critical for GNRH secretion, it is possible that BMP6 and BMP7 directly stimulate GNRH release by GT1-7 cells. Collectively, a newly uncovered interaction of BMPs and ER may be involved in controlling hypothalamic GNRH production and secretion via an autocrine/paracrine mechanism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism