Activin-attenuated expression of transcripts encoding granulosa cell- derived insulin-like growth factor binding proteins 4 and 5 in the rat: A putative antiatretic effect

Doo Seok Choi, Richard M. Rohan, Ron G. Rosenfeld, Tomoko Matsumoto, Sharron E. Gargosky, Eli Y. Adashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Given the suggestion that intraovarian insulin-like growth factor (IGF)- binding proteins (IGFBPs) may constitute markers of follicular atresia, we investigated the possibility that activin, a putative antiatretic principle, may modulate granulosa cell-derived IGFBPs. Untreated granulosa cells cultured for 72 h exhibited a progressive increase in the steady-state levels of transcripts corresponding to IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 (1.5-fold and 12-fold, respectively). Transcript levels corresponding to IGFBP-5 were consistently higher than their IGFBP-4 counterparts. Treatment with activin-A (50 ng/ml) for 72 h produced significant (p < 0.05) decrements in the steady-state levels of IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 transcripts (46% and 79%, respectively) as compared to controls. Thus, treatment with activin-A appears to be capable of blocking the spontaneous increase in IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 transcripts exhibited by untreated cultured granulosa cells. Consistent activin-A- induced decrements were also observed in the accumulation of the IGFBP-5 (but not the IGFBP-4) protein. Dose-response analysis revealed monophasic dose dependence (half maximal inhibitory doses of 16.2 and 7.8 ng/ml for IGFBP-5 and IGFBP-4 transcripts, respectively). The addition of increasing concentrations of the putative activin-binding protein, follistatin, produced dose-dependent reversal of the activin-A effect on IGFBP transcripts (IGFBP- 5 > IGFBP-4). Activin-B was as effective as activin-A in reducing IGFBP-4 transcripts (31% decrement, p < 0.05) whereas it had little or no effect on IGFBP-5 transcripts (21% decrement, p > 0.1). No apparent effect was observed for the corresponding proteins. Activin-A action was specific in that treatment with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, inhibin-A, or Mullerian-inhibiting substance (MIS)-all related peptides-failed to produce statistically significant alterations in the steady-state levels of IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 transcripts. Taken together, these observations reveal that activin-A exerts a substantial, relatively rapid, follistatin-neutralizable, dose- and time-dependent inhibitory effect on granulosa cell-derived IGFBP transcripts (IGFBP-5 > IGFBP-4). Other members of the TGFβ superfamily (e.g., inhibin-A, TGFβ1, and MIS) were without significant effect on the expression of IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5. To the extent that the inhibition of IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 expression is associated with, and possibly causally related to, the promotion of follicular health, the activin may play an antiatretic role in the dynamic process of follicular selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-515
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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