Variation in pituitary expression of mRNAs encoding the putative inhibin co-receptor (betaglycan) and type-I and type-II activin receptors during the chicken ovulatory cycle
Lovell, T.M., Knight, P.G. and Gladwell, R.T. (2005) Variation in pituitary expression of mRNAs encoding the putative inhibin co-receptor (betaglycan) and type-I and type-II activin receptors during the chicken ovulatory cycle. Journal of Endocrinology, 186 (3). pp. 447-455. ISSN 0022-0795
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1677/joe.1.06303
Secretion of LH and FSH from the anterior pituitary is regulated primarily by hypothalamic GnRH and ovarian steroid hormones. More recent evidence indicates regulatory roles for certain members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF beta) superfamily including inhibin and activin. The aim of this study was to identify expression of mRNAs encoding key receptors and ligands of the inhibin/activin system in the hen pituitary gland and to monitor their expression throughout the 24-25-h ovulatory cycle. Hens maintained on long days (16 h light/8 h dark) were killed 20, 12, 6 and 2 h before predicted ovulation of a midsequence egg (n = 8 per group). Anterior pituitary glands were removed, RNA extracted and cDNA synthesized. Plasma concentrations of LH, FSH, progesterone and inhibin A were measured. Real-time quantitative PCR was used to quantify pituitary expression of mRNAs encoding betaglycan, activin receptor (ActR) subtypes (type I, IIA), GnRH receptor (GnP,H-R), LH beta subunit, FSH beta subunit and GAPDH. Levels of mRNA for inhibin/activin beta A and beta B subunits, inhibin alpha subunit, follistatin and ActRIIB mRNA in pituitary were undetectable by quantitative PCR (< 2 amol/reaction). Significant changes in expression (P < 0.05) of ActRIIA and betaglycan mRNA were found, both peaking 6 h before ovulation just prior to the preovulatory LH surge and reaching a nadir 2 h before ovulation, just after the LH surge. There were no significant changes in expression of ActRI mRNA throughout the cycle although values were correlated with mRNA levels for both ActRIIA (r=0.77; P < 0.001) and betaglycan (r=0.45; P < 0.01). Expression of GnRH-R mRNA was lowest 20 h before ovulation and highest (P < 0.05) 6 h before ovulation; values were weakly correlated with betaglycan (r=0.33; P=0.06) and ActRIIA (r=0.34; P=0.06) mRNA levels. Expression of mRNAs encoding LH beta and FSH beta subunit were both lowest (P < 0.05) after the LH surge, 2 h before ovulation. These results are consistent with an endocrine, but not a local intrapituitary, role of inhibin-related proteins in modulating gonadotroph function during the ovulatory cycle of the hen, potentially through interaction with betaglycan and ActRIIA. In contrast to mammals, intrapituitary expression of inhibin/activin subunits and follistatin appears to be extremely low or absent in the domestic fowl.