The effect of human GH (hGH) on the regulation of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor was investigated during differentiation of FSH-treated rat granulosa cells, which has been reported to be mediated by a cAMP-dependent mechanism. By measuring the binding of [125I]iodo-EGF to the intact cells, FSH was shown to cause increases in the number of EGF binding sites after culture for 72 h. When granulosa cells were cultured with hGH, the number of FSH-induced EGF binding sites was augmented, with a half-maximal effect at about 10 μg hGH/l and a maximal stimulatory concentration of 100 μg/l. The stimulatory effect of hGH was absolutely dependent on insulin which by itself showed stimulatory effects on EGF binding sites. Scatchard analysis of EGF binding sites indicated that treatment with hGH increased the number of EGF binding sites (17 200 sites/cell after treatment with FSH; 31 700 sites/cell after FSH plus hGH), but did not alter the binding affinity. The augmentation was observed after culturing for 48 h and increased progressively with time, reaching 280% of the level after FSH treatment by 120 h. Although progesterone synthesis was increased by hGH, the markers of cell differentiation such as cAMP synthesis and LH binding sites were suppressed, indicating hGH inhibition of the cAMP-mediated signal. The action of hGH on the EGF binding sites was not accompanied by cell proliferation. These findings indicate that hGH has a novel action on the regulation of rat granulosa cell EGF binding sites and that the granulosa cell may possess both cAMP-dependent and -independent mechanisms for expression of EGF binding sites.
Journal of Endocrinology (1994) 142, 69–75