Vol 46, No 4 (2008)
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Published online: 2009-01-15

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Effects of transferrin on aromatase activity in porcine granulosa cells in vitro.

Małgorzata Durlej, Małgorzata Duda, Katarzyna Knapczyk, Maria Słomczyńska
DOI: 10.2478/v10042-008-0070-z
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2008;46(4):423-428.


Proliferating cells have an absolute requirement for iron, which is delivered by transferrin with subsequent intracellular transport via the transferrin receptor. Recent studies have reported that transferrin plays a crucial role in the local regulation of ovarian function, apart from its iron-binding characteristic. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to explore the possible role of transferrin in porcine granulosa cells function by examining its influence on aromatase activity, the most important indicator of follicular cell differentiation. In the first series of studies, pig granulosa cells isolated from small, immature follicles were cultured in the presence of transferrin alone (10 microg/ml or 100 microg/ml) or with the addition of FSH (100ng/ml). The second series of studies was undertaken to determine transferrin-stimulated granulosa cells ability to aromatize exogenous testosterone (1x10(-7)M). One hour after the establishment of cultures an aromatase inhibitor CGS16949A was added to test its influence on estradiol production. After 48 hours, cultures were terminated and cells were processed for immunocytochemical staining of aromatase. Media were frozen for further estradiol level analysis. Positive immunostaining for aromatase was found in all granulosa cell cultures. The intensity of immunostaining was always stronger in cultures supplemented with FSH whereas the addition of transferrin had no effect. Granulosa cells in vitro synthesized the highest amount of estradiol after the addition of FSH and exogenous testosterone as measured radioimmunologically. Concomitant treatment with FSH and transferrin caused an inhibition of FSH-stimulated aromatase activity. The production of estradiol also declined in the presence of FSH, testosterone and transferrin. This study demonstrates that transferrin had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on FSH-stimulated aromatase activity, which was confirmed by radioimmunoassay. Our results indicate that transferrin may be an important factor in the regulation of granulosa cell diferentiation.

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Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica