ResearchPad - progesterone https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A grape seed extract maternal dietary supplementation improves egg quality and reduces ovarian steroidogenesis without affecting fertility parameters in reproductive hens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14599 In broiler hens, the genetic selection increased susceptibility to metabolic disorders and reproductive dysfunctions. In human ovarian cells, grape seed extracts (GSE) improved steroid production. Here, we investigated the effects of a GSE dietary supplementation on egg production and quality, fertility parameters, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) and steroid content in yolk egg associated to plasma adipokines in broiler hens. For this, we designed two in vivo experiments, the first one included three groups of hens: A (control), B and C (supplemented with GSE at 0.5% and 1% of the total diet composition, respectively, since week 4), and the second one used two groups of hens: A (control) and D (supplemented with GSE at 1% of the total diet composition since hatching). We assessed the egg production from 23th to 40th weeks and quality at 33th week. After artificial inseminations, the fertility parameters were calculated. In egg yolk, Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) level and steroid production were evaluated by Ros-Glo H202 and ELISA assay, respectively. Expression of steroidogenic enzymes and adipokines and their receptors was determined by RT-qPCR in ovarian cells and plasma adipokines (RARRES2, ADIPOQ and NAMPT) were evaluated by specific ELISA assays. The fertility parameters and egg production were unaffected by GSE supplementation whatever the experiment (exp.). However, the rate of double-yolk eggs decreased for all GSE supplemented groups (exp. 1 P <0.01, exp.2, P<0.02). In exp.1, C group eggs were bigger and larger (P<0.0001) and the shell elasticity was higher for both B and C (P<0.0003) as compared to control. In the egg yolk, GSE supplementation in both exp. reduced ROS content and steroidogenesis consistent with a decrease in P450 aromatase and StAR mRNA expression and basal in vitro progesterone secretion in granulosa cells (P<0.001). Interestingly, in both exp. RARRES2 plasma levels were positively correlated while ADIPOQ and NAMPT plasma levels were negatively correlated, with steroids and ROS in yolk (P<0.0001). Taken together, maternal dietary GSE supplementation did not affect egg production and fertility parameters whereas it reduced ROS content and steroidogenesis in yolk egg. Furthermore, it ameliorated egg quality by decreasing the number of double-yolk eggs and by improving the size of normal eggs and the elasticity of the shell. Taken together, our data suggest the possibility of using dietary maternal GSE to improve egg quality.

]]>
<![CDATA[Molecular features of steroid-binding antidins and their use for assaying serum progesterone]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe5fd5eed0c484e5b998

Chicken avidin (Avd) and streptavidin from Streptomyces avidinii are extensively used in bionanotechnology due to their extremely tight binding to biotin (Kd ~ 10−15 M for chicken Avd). We previously reported engineered Avds known as antidins, which have micro- to nanomolar affinities for steroids, non-natural ligands of Avd. Here, we report the 2.8 Å X-ray structure of the sbAvd-2 (I117Y) antidin co-crystallized with progesterone. We describe the creation of new synthetic phage display libraries and report the experimental as well as computational binding analysis of progesterone-binding antidins. We introduce a next-generation antidin with 5 nM binding affinity for progesterone, and demonstrate the use of antidins for measuring progesterone in serum samples. Our data give insights on how to engineer and alter the binding preferences of Avds and to develop better molecular tools for modern bionanotechnological applications.

]]>
<![CDATA[Impact of combining the progesterone receptor and preoperative endocrine prognostic index (PEPI) as a prognostic factor after neoadjuvant endocrine therapy using aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal ER positive and HER2 negative breast cancer]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b8685d440307c7363ff63ae

The preoperative endocrine prognostic index (PEPI) predicts survival after neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (NAE) using aromatase inhibitors (AIs) for women with postmenopausal estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer irrespective of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) status. Although the progesterone receptor (PgR) is also a prognostic factor for ER-positive breast cancer, the PgR status was not considered a prognostic factor in the original PEPI scoring system. In this study, we investigated the utility of a modified PEPI including the PgR status (PEPI-P) as a prognostic factor after NAE for postmenopausal patients with ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer. We enrolled 107 patients with invasive ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer treated with exemestane for ≥4 months as NAE. We initially assessed PEPI and compared survival between the groups. Additionally, we obtained an effective cutoff for PgR through survival analysis. Then, we assessed the survival significance of PEPI-P. A PgR staining rate of 50% was the most significant cutoff for predicting recurrence-free survival (RFS) and cancer-specific survival (CSS). PEPI was a significant prognostic factor; moreover, PEPI-P was the most significant prognostic indicator for RFS and CSS. PEPI-P is a potent prognostic indicator of survival after NAE using AIs for postmenopausal patients with ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer. This modified PEPI may be useful for therapeutic decision-making regarding postmenopausal ER-positive and HER2-negative breast cancer after NAE.

]]>
<![CDATA[The role of AKT and FOXO3 in preventing ovarian toxicity induced by cyclophosphamide]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6da1aa463d7e4dccc5fae8

Cyclophosphamide (CTX) has immunosuppressive effects and has been wildly used as one anti-cancer drug in clinical. Significant toxicity has been noticed particularly in the reproductive system. CTX promotes the maturation of ovarian follicles, decreases follicular reserve, and ultimately lead to ovarian failure or even premature ovarian failure (POF). The placental extract (HPE) has been shown to have some beneficial impact on reproductive system; however, little is known regarding to the effect of HPE on protecting CTX-induced ovarian injury and the mechanism involved. Whether human placental extracts (HPE) has a protective effect on CTX-induced toxicity on ovarian was studied by using a CTX-induced ovarian injury animal model. The effects of HEP on histopathology, the number of atretic follicles, the weight of the ovary, serum hormone levels, and apoptosis in granulosa cells were studied in mice with CTX or control vehicle. Our results have demonstrated that HPE inhibited p-Rictor, reduced the expression of Bad, Bax and PPAR, and activated Akt and Foxo3a (increased their phosphorylation). Mice treated with HPE showed higher ovarian weight, lower number of atretic follicles, higher serum levels of the hormones E2 and progesterone, and lower apoptosis and serum levels of LH and FSH in granulosa cells, than that in the control animal group. Our data show that ovarian injury can be attenuated by HPE. HPE likely protects follicular granulosa cells from undergoing significant apoptosis and reduce atresia follicle formation, therefore, alleviates CTX-induced ovarian injury.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mucosal stromal fibroblasts markedly enhance HIV infection of CD4+ T cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcdfe

Understanding early events of HIV transmission within mucosal tissues is vital for developing effective prevention strategies. Here, we report that primary stromal fibroblasts isolated from endometrium, cervix, foreskin, male urethra, and intestines significantly increase HIV infection of CD4+ T cells–by up to 37-fold for R5-tropic HIV and 100-fold for X4-tropic HIV–without themselves becoming infected. Fibroblasts were more efficient than dendritic cells at trans-infection and mediate this response in the absence of the DC-SIGN and Siglec-1 receptors. In comparison, mucosal epithelial cells secrete antivirals and inhibit HIV infection. These data suggest that breaches in the epithelium allow external or luminal HIV to escape an antiviral environment to access the infection-favorable environment of the stromal fibroblasts, and suggest that resident fibroblasts have a central, but previously unrecognized, role in HIV acquisition at mucosal sites. Inhibiting fibroblast-mediated enhancement of HIV infection should be considered as a novel prevention strategy.

]]>
<![CDATA[Antagonistic Effect of a Salivary Proline-Rich Peptide on the Cytosolic Ca2+ Mobilization Induced by Progesterone in Oral Squamous Cancer Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daebab0ee8fa60bbf540

A salivary proline-rich peptide of 1932 Da showed a dose-dependent antagonistic effect on the cytosolic Ca2+ mobilization induced by progesterone in a tongue squamous carcinoma cell line. Structure-activity studies showed that the activity of the peptide resides in the C-terminal region characterized by a proline stretch flanked by basic residues. Furthermore, lack of activity of the retro-inverso peptide analogue suggested the involvement of stereospecific recognition. Mass spectrometry-based shotgun analysis, combined with Western blotting tests and biochemical data obtained with the Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1 (PGRMC1) inhibitor AG205, showed strong evidence that p1932 performs its modulatory action through an interaction with the progesterone receptor PGRMC1, which is predominantly expressed in this cell line and, clearly, plays a role in progesterone induced Ca2+ response. Thus, our results point to p1932 as a modulator of the transduction signal pathway mediated by this protein and, given a well-established involvement of PGRMC1 in tumorigenesis, highlight a possible therapeutic potential of p1932 for the treatment of oral cancer.

]]>
<![CDATA[Practical Recommendations for the Use of the GeneSwitch Gal4 System to Knock-Down Genes in Drosophila melanogaster]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5dc4

Drosophila melanogaster is a popular research model organism thanks to its’ powerful genetic tools that allow spatial and temporal control of gene expression. The inducible GeneSwitch Gal4 system (GS) system is a modified version of the classic UAS/GAL4 system which allows inducible regulation of gene expression and eliminates background effects. It is widely acknowledged that the GS system is leaky, with low level expression of UAS transgenes in absence of the inducer RU-486 (the progesterone analog that activates the modified GAL4 protein). However, in the course of our experiments, we have observed that the extent of this leak depends on the nature of the transgene being expressed. In the absence of RU-486, when strong drivers are used to express protein coding transgenes, leaky expression is low or negligible, however expression of RNA interference (RNAi) transgenes results in complete depletion of protein levels. The majority of published studies, using the GS system and RNAi transgenes validate knock-down efficiency by comparing target gene mRNA levels between induced and non-induced groups. Here, we demonstrate that this approach is lacking and that both additional control groups and further validation is required at the protein level. Unfortunately, this experimental limitation of the GS system eliminates “the background advantage”, but does offer the possibility of performing more complex experiments (e.g. studying depletion and overexpression of different proteins in the same genetic background). The limitations and new possible applications of the GS system are discussed in detail.

]]>
<![CDATA[Modulatory Effects of Sex Steroids Progesterone and Estradiol on Odorant Evoked Responses in Olfactory Receptor Neurons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3aab0ee8fa60b87835

The influence of the sex steroid hormones progesterone and estradiol on physiology and behavior during menstrual cycles and pregnancy is well known. Several studies indicate that olfactory performance changes with cyclically fluctuating steroid hormone levels in females. Knowledge of the exact mechanisms behind how female sex steroids modulate olfactory signaling is limited. A number of different known genomic and non-genomic actions that are mediated by progesterone and estradiol via interactions with different receptors may be responsible for this modulation. Next generation sequencing-based RNA-Seq transcriptome data from the murine olfactory epithelium (OE) and olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) revealed the expression of several membrane progestin receptors and the estradiol receptor Gpr30. These receptors are known to mediate rapid non-genomic effects through interactions with G proteins. RT-PCR and immunohistochemical staining results provide evidence for progestin and estradiol receptors in the ORNs. These data support the hypothesis that steroid hormones are capable of modulating the odorant-evoked activity of ORNs. Here, we validated this hypothesis through the investigation of steroid hormone effects by submerged electro-olfactogram and whole cell patch-clamp recordings of ORNs. For the first time, we demonstrate that the sex steroid hormones progesterone and estradiol decrease odorant-evoked signals in the OE and ORNs of mice at low nanomolar concentrations. Thus, both of these sex steroids can rapidly modulate the odor responsiveness of ORNs through membrane progestin receptors and the estradiol receptor Gpr30.

]]>
<![CDATA[Progesterone Treatment Shows Benefit in Female Rats in a Pediatric Model of Controlled Cortical Impact Injury]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad3ab0ee8fa60bb6f6f

Purpose

We recently showed that progesterone treatment can reduce lesion size and behavioral deficits after moderate-to-severe bilateral injury to the medial prefrontal cortex in immature male rats. Whether there are important sex differences in response to injury and progesterone treatment in very young subjects has not been given sufficient attention. Here we investigated progesterone’s effects in the same model of brain injury but with pre-pubescent females.

Methods

Twenty-eight-day-old female Sprague-Dawley rats received sham (n = 14) or controlled cortical impact (CCI) (n = 21) injury, were given progesterone (8 mg/kg body weight) or vehicle injections on post-injury days (PID) 1–7, and underwent behavioral testing from PID 9–27. Brains were evaluated for lesion size at PID 28.

Results

Lesion size in vehicle-treated female rats with CCI injury was smaller than that previously reported for similarly treated age-matched male rats. Treatment with progesterone reduced the effect of CCI on extent of damage and behavioral deficits.

Conclusion

Pre-pubescent female rats with midline CCI injury to the frontal cortex have reduced morphological and functional deficits following progesterone treatment. While gender differences in susceptibility to this injury were observed, progesterone treatment produced beneficial effects in young rats of both sexes following CCI.

]]>
<![CDATA[Prediction of Candidate Drugs for Treating Pancreatic Cancer by Using a Combined Approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dacbab0ee8fa60bb42e8

Pancreatic cancer is the leading cause of death from solid malignancies worldwide. Currently, gemcitabine is the only drug approved for treating pancreatic cancer. Developing new therapeutic drugs for this disease is, therefore, an urgent need. The C-Map project has provided a wealth of gene expression data that can be mined for repositioning drugs, a promising approach to new drug discovery. Typically, a drug is considered potentially useful for treating a disease if the drug-induced differential gene expression profile is negatively correlated with the differentially expressed genes in the target disease. However, many of the potentially useful drugs (PUDs) identified by gene expression profile correlation are likely false positives because, in C-Map, the cultured cell lines to which the drug is applied are not derived from diseased tissues. To solve this problem, we developed a combined approach for predicting candidate drugs for treating pancreatic cancer. We first identified PUDs for pancreatic cancer by using C-Map-based gene expression correlation analyses. We then applied an algorithm (Met-express) to predict key pancreatic cancer (KPC) enzymes involved in pancreatic cancer metabolism. Finally, we selected candidates from the PUDs by requiring that their targets be KPC enzymes or the substrates/products of KPC enzymes. Using this combined approach, we predicted seven candidate drugs for treating pancreatic cancer, three of which are supported by literature evidence, and three were experimentally validated to be inhibitory to pancreatic cancer celllines.

]]>
<![CDATA[Association between lifetime exposure to passive smoking and risk of breast cancer subtypes defined by hormone receptor status among non-smoking Caucasian women]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db51ab0ee8fa60bdc201

Tobacco smoking is inconsistently associated with breast cancer. Although some studies suggest that breast cancer risk is related to passive smoking, little is known about the association with breast cancer by tumor hormone receptor status. We aimed to explore the association between lifetime passive smoking and risk of breast cancer subtypes defined by estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status among non-smoking Caucasian women. A hospital-based case-control study was performed in 585 cases and 1170 controls aged 28–90 years. Information on lifetime passive smoking and other factors was collected via a self-administered questionnaire. Logistic regression was used for analyses restricted to the 449 cases and 930 controls who had never smoked actively. All statistical tests were two-sided. Adjusted odds ratio of breast cancer was 1.01 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.72–1.41) in women who experienced exposure to passive smoking at work, 1.88 (95% CI: 1.38–2.55) in women who had exposure at home, and 2.80 (95% CI: 1.84–4.25) in women who were exposed at home and at work, all compared with never exposed regularly. Increased risk was associated with longer exposure: women exposed ≤ 20 years and > 20 years had 1.27 (95% CI: 0.97–1.66) and 2.64 (95% CI: 1.87–3.74) times higher risk of breast cancer compared with never exposed (Ptrend < 0.001). The association of passive smoking with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer did not differ from that with hormone receptor-negative breast cancer (Pheterogeneity > 0.05). There was evidence of interaction between passive smoking intensity and menopausal status in both overall group (P = 0.02) and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer group (P < 0.05). In Caucasian women, lifetime exposure to passive smoking is associated with the risk of breast cancer independent of tumor hormone receptor status with the strongest association in postmenopausal women.

]]>
<![CDATA[The effects of menstrual cycle phase on physical performance in female soccer players]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbe0b

Background

Female soccer has grown extensively in recent years, however differences in gender-specific physiology have rarely been considered. The female reproductive hormones which rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle, are known to affect numerous cardiovascular, respiratory, thermoregulatory and metabolic parameters, which in turn, may have implications on exercise physiology and soccer performance. Therefore, the main aim of the present study was to investigate potential effects of menstrual cycle phase on performance in soccer specific tests.

Methods

Nine sub elite female soccer players, all of whom have menstrual cycles of physiological length; performed a series of physical performance tests (Yo-Yo Intermittent endurance test (Yo-Yo IET), counter movement jump (CMJ) and 3x30 m sprints). These were conducted at distinct time points during two main phases of the menstrual cycle (early follicular phase (FP) and mid luteal phase (LP)) where hormones contrasted at their greatest magnitude.

Results

Yo-Yo IET performance was considerably lower during the mid LP (2833±896 m) as compared to the early FP (3288±800 m). A trend towards significance was observed (p = 0.07) and the magnitude based inferences suggested probabilities of 0/61/39 for superiority/equality/inferiority of performance during the mid LP, leading to the inference of a possibly harmful effect. For CMJ (early FP, 20.0±3.9 cm; mid LP 29.6±3.0 cm, p = 0.33) and sprint (early FP, 4.7±0.1 s; mid LP, 4.7±0.1 s, p = 0.96) performances the results were unclear (8/24/68, 48/0/52, respectively).

Conclusion

The results of this study are in support of a reduction in maximal endurance performance during the mid LP of the menstrual cycle. However, the same effect was not observed for jumping and sprint performance. Therefore, consideration of cycle phase when monitoring a player’s endurance capacity may be worthwhile.

]]>
<![CDATA[Knockdown of CREB3/Luman by shRNA in Mouse Granulosa Cells Results in Decreased Estradiol and Progesterone Synthesis and Promotes Cell Proliferation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac3ab0ee8fa60bb1593

Luman (also known as LZIP or CREB3) is a transcription factor and a member of the cAMP responsive element-binding (CREB) family proteins. Although Luman has been detected in apoptotic granulosa cells and disorganized atretic bodies, the physiological function of Luman in follicular development has not been reported. Our objective is to determine the role of Luman in folliculogenesis by knocking down Luman expression in mouse GCs (granulosa cells) using shRNA. Luman expression was successfully knocked down in mouse GCs at the mRNA and protein level, as confirmed by real-time quantitative PCR, western blot and immunofluorescence staining, respectively. Knockdown of Luman significantly decreased the concentrations of estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) in cell culture medium. Furthermore, Luman knockdown promoted cell proliferation but had no effect on cell apoptosis. To elucidate the regulatory mechanism underlying the effects of Luman knockdown on steroid synthesis and cell cycle, we measured the mRNA and protein expression levels of several related genes. The expression of Star, Cyp19a1, and Cyp1b1, which encode steroidogenic enzymes, was down-regulated, while that of Cyp11a1 and Runx2, which also encode steroidogenic enzymes, was up-regulated. The expression of the cell cycle factors Cyclin A1, Cyclin B1, Cyclin D2, and Cyclin E was significantly up-regulated. Among apoptosis-related genes, only Bcl-2 was down-regulated, while Caspase 3, Bax and p53 were not significantly affected, suggesting that Luman knockdown may regulate cell cycle activity and hormone secretion at the transcriptional and translational level in mouse GCs. The expression of two important genes associated with folliculogenesis in mouse GCs, Has2 and Ptgs2, were also significantly altered by Luman knockdown. In conclusion, the findings of this study indicate that Luman regulates mouse GCs modulation of steroid synthesis, cell cycle activity and other regulators of folliculogenesis.

]]>
<![CDATA[Examination of Duct Physiology in the Human Mammary Gland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da94ab0ee8fa60ba1231

Background

The human breast comprise several ductal systems, or lobes, which contain a small amount of fluid containing cells, hormones, proteins and metabolites. The complex physiology of these ducts is likely a contributing factor to the development of breast cancer, especially given that the vast majority of breast cancers begin in a single lobular unit.

Methods

We examined the levels of total protein, progesterone, estradiol, estrone sulfate, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and macrophages in ductal fluid samples obtained from 3 ducts each in 78 women, sampled twice over a 6 month period. Samples were processed for both cytological and molecular analysis. Intraclass correlation coefficients and mixed models were utilized to identify significant data.

Results

We found that the levels of these ductal fluid components were generally uncorrelated among ducts within a single breast and over time, suggesting that each lobe within the breast has a distinct physiology. However, we also found that estradiol was more correlated in women who were nulliparous or produced nipple aspirate fluid.

Conclusions

Our results provide evidence that the microenvironment of any given lobular unit is unique to that individual unit, findings that may provide clues about the initiation and development of ductal carcinomas.

]]>
<![CDATA[Top quality blastocyst formation rates in relation to progesterone levels on the day of oocyte maturation in GnRH antagonist IVF/ICSI cycles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60bdfe0e

Cycles with progesterone elevation during controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) for IVF/ICSI are commonly managed with a “freeze-all” strategy, due to a well-recognized detrimental effect of high progesterone levels on endometrial receptivity. However, also a detrimental effect of elevated progesterone on day-3 embryo quality has recently been found with regards to top quality embryo formation rate. Because blastocyst culture and cryopreservation are largely adopted, we deemed relevant to determine whether this detrimental effect is also seen on blastocyst quality on day 5–6. This issue was investigated through a large two-center retrospective study including 986 GnRH antagonist IVF/ICSI cycles and using top quality blastocyst formation rate as the main outcome. Results showed that on multivariate analysis sperm motility (p<0.01) and progesterone levels at ovulation triggering (p = 0.01) were the only two variables that significantly predicted top quality blastocyst formation rate after adjusting for relevant factors including female age, BMI, basal AMH and total dose of FSH used for COS. More specifically, progesterone levels at induction showed an inverse relation with top quality blastocyst formation (correlation coefficient B = -1.08, 95% CI -1.9 to -0.02) and ROC curve analysis identified P level >1.49 ng/ml as the best cut-off for identification of patients at risk for the absence of top quality blastocysts (AUC 0.55, p<0.01). Our study is the first to investigate the top quality blastocyst formation rate in relation to progesterone levels in IVF/ICSI cycles, showing that increasing progesterone is associated with lower rates of top quality blastocyst. Hence, the advantages of prolonging COS to maximize the number of collected oocytes might eventually be hindered by a decrease in top quality blastocysts available for transfer, if increasing progesterone levels are observed. This observation extends the results of two recent studies focused on day-3 embryos and deserves further research.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Naturally Occurring Lgr4 Splice Variant Encodes a Soluble Antagonist Useful for Demonstrating the Gonadal Roles of Lgr4 in Mammals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e0ab0ee8fa60b6923f

Leucine-rich repeat containing G protein-coupled receptor 4 (LGR4) promotes the Wnt signaling through interaction with R-spondins or norrin. Using PCR amplification from rat ovarian cDNAs, we identified a naturally occurring Lgr4 splice variant encoding only the ectodomain of Lgr4, which was named Lgr4-ED. Lgr4-ED can be detected as a secreted protein in the extracts from rodent and bovine postnatal gonads, suggesting conservation of Lgr4-ED in mammals. Recombinant Lgr4-ED purified from the conditioned media of transfected 293T cells was found to dose-dependently inhibit the LGR4-mediated Wnt signaling induced by RSPO2 or norrin, suggesting that it is capable of ligand absorption and could have a potential role as an antagonist. Intraperitoneal injection of purified recombinant Lgr4-ED into newborn mice was found to significantly decrease the testicular expression of estrogen receptor alpha and aquaporin 1, which is similar to the phenotype found in Lgr4-null mice. Administration of recombinant Lgr4-ED to superovulated female rats can also decrease the expression of estrogen receptor alpha, aquaporin 1, LH receptor and other key steroidogenic genes as well as bring about the suppression of progesterone production. Thus, these findings suggest that endogenously expressed Lgr4-ED may act as an antagonist molecule and help to fine-tune the R-spondin/norrin-mediated Lgr4-Wnt signaling during gonadal development.

]]>
<![CDATA[Long-Term Moderate Oxidative Stress Decreased Ovarian Reproductive Function by Reducing Follicle Quality and Progesterone Production]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9dab0ee8fa60ba4566

Ovarian aging is a long-term and complex process associated with a decrease in follicular quantity and quality. The damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in ovarian aging and ovarian aging-associated disorders have received relatively little attention. Thus, we assessed if the oxidative stress induced by long-term (defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as at least 30 days in duration) moderate ozone inhalation reduced ovarian reserves, decreased ovarian function and induced ovarian aging-associated disorders. The expression of oxidative stress markers and antioxidant enzymes was used to determine the degree of oxidative stress. Ultrastructural changes in ovarian cells were examined via electron microscopy. The ovarian reserve was assessed by measuring multiple parameters, such as the size of the primordial follicle pool and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) expression. The estrous cycle, hormone levels and fertility status were investigated to assess ovarian function. To investigate ovarian aging-associated disorders, we utilized bone density and cardiovascular ultrasonography in mice. The levels of oxidized metabolites, such as 8-hydroxy-2´-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and nitrotyrosine (NTY), significantly increased in ovarian cells in response to increased oxidative stress. The ultrastructural analysis indicated that lipid droplet formation and the proportion of mitochondria with damaged membranes in granulosa cells were markedly increased in ozone-exposed mice when compared with the control group. Ozone exposure did not change the size of the primordial follicle pool or anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) expression. The estrogen concentration remained normal; however, progesterone and testosterone levels decreased. The mice exposed to ozone inhalation exhibited a substantial decrease in fertility and fecundity. No differences were revealed by the bone density or cardiovascular ultrasounds. These findings suggest that the decreased female reproductive function caused by long-term moderate oxidative damage may be due to a decrease in follicle quality and progesterone production.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Role of Progesterone and a Novel Progesterone Receptor, Progesterone Receptor Membrane Component 1, in the Inflammatory Response of Fetal Membranes to Ureaplasma parvum Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9d3ab0ee8fa60b64d3e

Ureaplasma parvum (U. parvum) is gaining recognition as an important pathogen for chorioamnionitis and preterm premature rupture of membranes. We aimed to investigate the roles of progesterone (P4) and a novel progesterone receptor, progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1), in the response of fetal membranes to U. parvum. Fetal membrane cells (amnion, chorion and decidua) were isolated and confirmed to be free of Mycoplasmataceae. Cells were treated with U. parvum (5x106 CFU), and adherence was quantified by qPCR. Amnion and chorion cells were transfected with scrambled siRNA or validated PGRMC1 siRNA for 72h. Cells were then treated with U. parvum for 4h with or without pretreatment with P4 (10−7 M) or ethanol for 1h. Interleukin-8 (IL-8), matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and cyclooxygenase (COX-2) mRNA expression were quantified by qRT-PCR. Culture medium was harvested and analyzed for IL-8 and prostaglandin (PGE2) secretion by ELISA and MMP9 activity by zymography. U. parvum had a mean adherence of 15.0±0.6%, 16.9± 3.7% and 4.7±0.3% in cultured amnion, chorion and decidua cells, respectively. Exposure to U. parvum elicited significant inflammatory responses including induction of IL-8, COX-2, PGE2 and MMP9. A possible role of PGRMC1 was identified in the inhibition of U. parvum-stimulated COX-2 and MMP9 mRNA expression in chorion cells and MMP9 activity in amnion cells. On the other hand, it might enhance the U. parvum-stimulated IL-8 protein secretion in amnion cells. P4, mediated through PGRMC1, significantly inhibited U. Parvum-induced MMP9 mRNA and COX-2 mRNA expression in chorion cells. P4 appeared to attenuate U. parvum induced IL-8 mRNA expression in chorion cells, but this P4 effect might not mediated through PGRMC1. In summary, U. parvum preferentially adheres to and induces inflammatory responses in chorion and amnion cells. P4 and PGRMC1 appear to differentially modulate the inflammatory responses induced by U. parvum among amnion and chorion cells.

]]>
<![CDATA[A Natural Mutation in Helix 5 of the Ligand Binding Domain of Glucocorticoid Receptor Enhances Receptor-Ligand Interaction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da43ab0ee8fa60b8ae91

The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is a central player in the neuroendocrine stress response; it mediates feedback regulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and physiological actions of glucocorticoids in the periphery. Despite intensive investigations of GR in the context of receptor-ligand interaction, only recently the first naturally occurring gain-of-function substitution, Ala610Val, of the ligand binding domain was identified in mammals. We showed that this mutation underlies a major quantitative trait locus for HPA axis activity in pigs, reducing cortisol production by about 40–50 percent. To unravel the molecular mechanisms behind this gain of function, receptor-ligand interactions were evaluated in silico, in vitro and in vivo. In accordance with previously observed phenotypic effects, the mutant Val610 GR showed significantly increased activation in response to glucocorticoid and non-glucocorticoid steroids, and, as revealed by GR-binding studies in vitro and in pituitary glands, enhanced ligand binding. Concordantly, the protein structure prediction depicted reduced binding distances between the receptor and ligand, and altered interactions in the ligand binding pocket. Consequently, the Ala610Val substitution opens up new structural information for the design of potent GR ligands and to examine effects of the enhanced GR responsiveness to glucocorticoids on the entire organism.

]]>
<![CDATA[Exploring Flexibility of Progesterone Receptor Ligand Binding Domain Using Molecular Dynamics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da90ab0ee8fa60b9fda9

Progesterone receptor (PR), a member of nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily, plays a vital role for female reproductive tissue development, differentiation and maintenance. PR ligand, such as progesterone, induces conformation changes in PR ligand binding domain (LBD), thus mediates subsequent gene regulation cascades. PR LBD may adopt different conformations upon an agonist or an antagonist binding. These different conformations would trigger distinct transcription events. Therefore, the dynamics of PR LBD would be of general interest to biologists for a deep understanding of its structure-function relationship. However, no apo-form (non-ligand bound) of PR LBD model has been proposed either by experiments or computational methods so far. In this study, we explored the structural dynamics of PR LBD using molecular dynamics simulations and advanced sampling tools in both ligand-bound and the apo-forms. Resolved by the simulation study, helix 11, helix 12 and loop 895–908 (the loop between these two helices) are quite flexible in antagonistic conformation. Several residues, such as Arg899 and Glu723, could form salt-bridging interaction between helix 11 and helix 3, and are important for the PR LBD dynamics. And we also propose that helix 12 in apo-form PR LBD, not like other NR LBDs, such as human estrogen receptor α (ERα) LBD, may not adopt a totally extended conformation. With the aid of umbrella sampling and metadynamics simulations, several stable conformations of apo-form PR LBD have been sampled, which may work as critical structural models for further large scale virtual screening study to discover novel PR ligands for therapeutic application.

]]>