We have previously demonstrated the presence of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) messenger RNA (mRNA) in rat granulosa cells. This study examines the unique, tissuespecific regulation of granulosa cell POMC mRNA levels by hormones with established regulatory effects on these cells. Northern blot analysis of immature rat ovarian RNA revealed the presence of a single mRNA of approximately 900 base pairs in length. The levels of ovarian POMC mRNA increased approximately 6-fold 48 h after priming with PMSG when expressed per microgram of total RNA. Granulosa cells were isolated from immature PMSG-primed rats and cultured under serum-free conditions in the presence and absence of various hormones to determine their effect on POMC mRNA levels. Treatment of the cells for 48 h with LH (100 ng/ml), androstenedione (10−7 m), or LH plus androstenedione elevated POMC mRNA levels. LH alone elicited a 5-fold increase in POMC mRNA, and androstenedione elicited a 10-fold increase; the combination treatment led to a 47-fold increase. The effects of the nonaromatizable androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT) were also evaluated. Treatment for 48 h with DHT (10−7 m) elicited a 40-fold increase in POMC mRNA levels. In vivo experiments measuring ovarian POMC mRNA from immature female rats corroborated the in vitro results. Animals injected sc with DHT (500 fig) demonstrated 5-fold increases in ovarian POMC mRNA when expressed per microgram of total RNA. These studies provide both in vitro and in vivo evidence that granulosa cell POMC mRNA is under unique hormonal regulation by both androgens and gonadotropins.
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