HIF involvement in the regulation of rat Sertoli cell proliferation by FSH
Abstract The final number of Sertoli cells reached during the proliferative periods determines sperm production capacity in adulthood. It is well known that FSH increases the rate of proliferation of Sertoli cells; however, little is known about the transcription factors that are activated by the hormone in order to regulate Sertoli cell proliferation. On the other hand, Hypoxia Inducible Factors (HIFs) are master regulators of cell growth. HIFs are dimers of HIF-β and HIF-α subunits. Considering that HIF-β is constitutively expressed, HIF transcriptional activity is regulated through the abundance of HIF-α subunits. To date, three HIF-α isoforms have been described. The association of the different HIF-α subunits with HIF-β subunit constitutes three active transcription factors —HIF-1, HIF-2 and HIF-3— which interact with consensus hypoxia-response elements in the promoter region of target genes. Hypoxia has been classically considered the main stimulus that increases HIF transcriptional activity, however, regulation by hormones under normoxic conditions was also demonstrated. The aim of this work has been to investigate whether HIFs participate in the regulation of rat Sertoli cell proliferation by FSH. Sertoli cells obtained from 8-day old rats were cultured in the absence or presence of FSH. It has been observed that FSH increases HIF transcriptional activity and HIF-2α mRNA levels without modifying either HIF-1α or HIF-3α expression. Incubations with FSH have been also performed in the absence or presence of a pharmacological agent that promotes HIF-α subunit degradation, LW6. It has been observed that LW6 inhibits the FSH effect on proliferation, CCND1 expression and c-Myc transcriptional activity. Altogether, these results suggest that HIFs might be involved in the regulation of Sertoli cell proliferation by FSH. Highlights FSH increases HIF transcriptional activity in immature Sertoli cells. FSH upregulates CCND1 expression in a HIF-dependent manner. FSH upregulates c-Myc transcriptional activity in a HIF-dependent manner. HIFs might be involved in the regulation of Sertoli cell proliferation by FSH.
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