The present study was designed to investigate the role of nitric oxide (NO) in the regulation of adrenocortical function. Different NO donors, such as sodium nitroprusside (SNP), S-nitroso-L-acetyl penicillamine, diethylamine/NO complex sodium salt and diethylenetriamine NO adduct, significantly decreased corticosterone production both in unstimulated and in corticotropin-stimulated zone fasciculata adrenal cells, in a dose-dependent manner. The effect of SNP was reversed by ferrous hemoglobin. A selective inhibitor of NO synthase, L-NG-nitro-arginine significantly increased corticosterone secretion. The effect of SNP was not mediated by cGMP as permeable cGMP analogs did not reproduce its inhibitory effect. SNP significantly inhibited the steroidogenesis stimulated by 8Br-cAMP and 22(R)-OH-cholesterol, but was ineffective when corticosterone was produced in the presence of exogenously added pregnenolone. Moreover, the conversion of [3H]cholesterol to [3H]pregnenolone and the production of pregnenolone or progesterone (assessed by RIA) were significantly decreased by SNP. Taken together, these results suggest that NO may be a negative modulator of adrenal zona fasciculata steroidogenesis.
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CB Cymeryng, LA Dada, and EJ Podesta
FC Maciel, C Poderoso, A Gorostizaga, C Paz, and EJ Podesta
Our recent reports indicate that protein tyrosine phosphorylation is an obligatory component of the mechanism of action of ACTH in its stimulatory action of corticosteroid production in adrenal zona fasciculata (ZF). The role of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) activity in the regulation of steroidogenesis by LH/chorionic gonadotropin (CG) was tested using cell-permeable PTP inhibitors. Thus, PTP inhibition blocks LH- and 8-bromo-cAMP-stimulated testosterone production by Leydig cells without affecting 22(R)OH-cholesterol-supported steroidogenesis, similar results to those obtained in the adrenal ZF/ACTH system, leading us to propose that PTP action is an obligatory and common step in the cascade triggered by both hormones. Then, we continued the study testing whether LH modulates PTP activity in MA-10 cells, a Leydig cell line. In this regard, we observed by an in-gel PTP assay two PTPs of 110 and 50 kDa that are activated by hormone and 8-bromo-cAMP activation of the cells. Moreover, there is a transient increase by the second messenger in total PTP activity that correlates with the higher activity displayed by the 110 and 50 kDa proteins in the in-gel assay. In accordance with these results, analysis of tyrosine phosphorylated proteins showed the LH-induced dephosphorylation of proteins of 120, 68 and 50 kDa. The results of this study indicate that PTPs play an important role in the regulation of Leydig cell functions and that there exists a cross talk between serine/threonine phosphorylation and tyrosine dephosphorylation mediated by hormone-activated cAMP-dependent protein kinase and PTPs. These results are the first evidence of PTP having a role in LH/CG-stimulated steroidogenesis.
C Paz, F Cornejo Maciel, P Maloberti, LP Walsh, DM Stocco, and EJ Podesta
The LH signal transduction pathway features the activation of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) as one of the components of a cascade that includes other well characterized events such as cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) activation. Moreover, the action of PTPs is required to increase the rate-limiting step in steroid biosynthesis, namely the cAMP-regulated transfer of cholesterol to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Since both PKA activity and steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein induction are obligatory steps in this transfer of cholesterol, the present study was performed to investigate the role of PTPs in the regulation of PKA activity and StAR expression in response to LH/chorionic gonadotropin (CG) and 8Br-cAMP in MA-10 cells. While the exposure of MA-10 cells to the PTP inhibitor, phenylarsine oxide (PAO), did not modify PKA activity, it partially inhibited the effect of human CG and cAMP analog on StAR protein levels. Time-course studies demonstrated that PAO inhibited cAMP induction of StAR protein and mRNA. At 30 min, the effect on cAMP-stimulated StAR protein levels was a 35% inhibition, progressing to up to 90% inhibition at 120 min of stimulation. The maximal inhibitory effect on cAMP-induced StAR mRNA level was obtained at 60 min (85%). In summary, these results demonstrate that inhibition of PTP activity affected both StAR protein and mRNA synthesis and suggest that the activity of hormone-regulated PTPs is a requirement in the LH signaling cascade that results in the up-regulation of StAR protein and, subsequently, increased steroid synthesis.
Y Pomeraniec, N Grion, L Gadda, V Pannunzio, EJ Podesta, and CB Cymeryng
Heme oxygenase (HO) catalyzes the first and rate-controlling step of heme catabolism into biliverdin, iron and carbon monoxide. Three isoforms of HO have been identified so far: the inducible HO-1 and the constitutive HO-2 and HO-3. Both HO-1 and HO-2 were expressed in zona fasciculata (ZF) adrenal cells and in a mouse adrenocortical cell line (Y1). HO-1 but not HO-2 expression was upregulated by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and accumulation of HO-1 protein correlated with an increase in HO activity in Y1 cells. ACTH induced HO-1 expression in a time- and dose-dependent manner with a maximum after 5 h of treatment and a threshold concentration of 0.1 mIU/ml. Actinomycin D and cycloheximide completely blocked the effect of ACTH on HO-1 mRNA expression whereas mRNA stability was not affected by ACTH. Permeable analogs of cAMP mimicked the effect of ACTH on HO-1 expression and ACTH induction was prevented by the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89. Steroid production was significantly increased when both HO-1 and HO-2 activities were inhibited by Sn-protoporphyrin IX (SnPPIX). The lipid peroxidation and increase in carbonyl content triggered by hydrogen peroxide was prevented by treatment of Y1 cells with bilirubin and ACTH.