Aromatase activity in granulosa cells: Regulation by growth factors
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This study describes the effects of insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), and epidermal growth factor (EGF) on the aromatase activity of granulosa cells isolated from immature rat ovaries. None of the growth factors alone influenced the basal level of aromatase activity, but did modulate follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-induced aromatase activity. Insulin and IGF1 augmented the action of a sub-optimal concentration of FSH (5 ng/mL) on aromatase activity in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, EGF (1-10 ng/mL) was effective in inhibiting aromatase activity maximally stimulated by FSH. Since insulin and IGF1 had opposing actions to those of EGF on FSH-induced aromatase activity, we examined the interactions between the growth factors. EGF inhibited the actions of both FSH and insulin on aromatase activity. Both IGF1 and EGF increased the [3H]thymidine incorporation into the DNA of bovine granulosa cells in vitro, IGF1 being a more potent mitogen. Whereas EGF inhibited the actions of IGF1 on aromatase activity, it did not inhibit the effects of IGF1 on the growth of granulosa cells. In summary, growth factors influence both the differentiation and growth of granulosa cells, and may be important regulators of follicular development.
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