The compounds that bind steroid hormone receptors including estrogen receptors (ERs), progesterone receptor (PR) or androgen receptor (AR), and induce or modulate a steroid hormone receptor-mediated response could be defined as endocrine disruptors (EDs). Currently, there are no standard methods to determine whether a chemical is an endocrine disruptor or not. Most results of in vitro and in vivo data are derived from assays that measure estrogenic activity, thus fewer data are available from assays that measure androgenic and progestogenic activities. In this review, we introduce a novel in vivo model to detect EDs using immature rats in the induction of Calbindin-D9k (CaBP-9k) mRNA and protein by estrogenic compounds. In addition, we summarize other biomarkers and screening methods for EDs in mammals to describe the usefulness of indicated biomarkers, although mammalian models are very few based on experimental findings.
Since the pig is not only an important farm animal, but also a model animal for biomedical applications, the development of reproductive technologies in this species has been very important. In vitro oocyte maturation and fertilization (IVM-IVF) are basic techniques for a number of oocyte- or embryo-related technologies. The practical aspects for pig oocyte IVM-IVF have been reviewed, while the molecular mechanisms underlying oocyte meiotic maturation and fertilization have not been well summarized, although accumulating data have been obtained in recent one decade. This review will focus on what is known about the molecular mechanisms of porcine oocyte maturation and fertilization such as first meiosis resumption, meiotic spindle assembly, second meiosis metaphase (MII) arrest during oocyte maturation, sperm-egg recognition and fusion, sperm acrosome reaction, second meiosis resumption, sperm chromatin decondensation, and pronucleus formation during fertilization, as well as the establishment of polyspermy block.
We examined the relation between the growth of preantral and antral follicles and that of their oocytes in the ovaries of Holstein cows. We recovered follicles and oocytes (419 pairs) from the ovaries of 61 cows, and examined the relative growth relating the follicle diameter to the oocyte diameter by using six regression models for only healthy oocytes and all the oocytes including degenerated ones with and/or without zona pellucida. The best fitting model was found to be a hyperbolic regression (R2: 0.999). The differentiated equation for the hyperbolic curve in normal oocytes with zona pellucida and the follicles was found to be y'=41.0/(x+0.253) 2: y and x are diameters of oocytes (μm) and follicles (mm), respectively. When follicles grew more than 4.0 mm in diameter, the growth rate of the oocytes calculated by the differentiation equation was found to be an asymptotic depression around zero. Thus, it is suggested that when the follicles grow more than 4.0 mm in diameter, the oocytes reach full size and cease to grow. Furthermore, it is considered that the equation can be applied to the assessment of normal growth in oocytes and follicles cultured in vitro.
Plasma concentrations of estrone sulfate in different breeds of Japanese beef cattle and the relationship between those concentrations and feto-placental growth were examined in order to assess the possibility of monitoring abnormal growth of the fetus. Blood samples were obtained from cows from day 90 of gestation to parturition. The plasma concentration of estrone sulfate was measured by direct enzyme immunoassay. From day 180 of gestation, the mean concentration of estrone sulfate increased gradually and it was drastically elevated after day 240 of gestation with the maximum at day 285. Plasma concentrations of estrone sulfate on day 240 of gestation was significantly increased in F1 cows (Holstein Friesian and Japanese Black) compared with those in other breeds of cow. From day 270 to 278 of gestation, estrone sulfate concentrations of Holstein Friesian cows inseminated by Holstein Friesian differed from those inseminated by Japanese Black. In the cow with retained placenta, the plasma concentration of estrone sulfate reached plateau at day 240 of gestation and did not increase thereafter. There was no significant relationship between estrone sulfate concentration and duration of gestation, calf birth weight, weight of placenta or viability of newborn calves. These results indicate that changes of plasma estrone sulfate concentration in Japanese beef cattle are very similar to those in Holstein dairy cattle. They also suggest that the plasma concentration of estrone sulfate is associated with the breed of pregnant cow and that its concentration is also affected by calf birth weight depending on the breed of bull. It seems possible to predict the incidence of retained placenta but not the calf birth weight and viability of newborn calves in Japanese beef cattle.
Our goal was to identify the cells expressing Pit-1 protein in chicken anterior pituitary. The anterior pituitaries were collected from laying hens after perfusion with formalin-PBS, and fixed with Bouin's fixative followed by paraffin embedding. Sections of the anterior pituitaries were immunostained for Pit-1 in the first staining sequence followed by staining for 6 types of pituitary hormones in the second sequence. Pit-1 positive nuclei were observed in the glandular cells in both the cephalic and caudal lobes. Pit-1 immunoreaction products were colocalized in the glandular cells immunopositive for growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone or prolactin. These results indicate that Pit-1 protein induction occurs in 6 types of glandular cells, suggesting that Pit-1 may regulate hormone synthesis in each glandular cell in the chicken pituitary.
The aim of this study was to examine whether the nutritional state of cows peripartum was associated with the recovery of ovarian function and conception rates after synchronization of ovulation and fixed-time artificial insemination (OVSYNCH/TAI). The effect of the interval in days from calving to the first ovulation on conception rates after OVSYNCH/TAI was also investigated. Conception rates of cows after OVSYNCH/TAI (n=39) were 43.6%. The conception rates of cows with a body condition score (BCS) of 2.75-3.25 at 30 d postpartum and on the day of OVSYNCH treatment were significantly higher than in cows with a BCS ≤2.5 (P<0.05). The percentage of cows establishing ovarian cyclicity before 55 d postpartum in cows with a BCS of 2.75-3.25 at 30 d postpartum and on the day of OVSYNCH treatment were significantly higher than in cows with a BCS ≤2.5 (P<0.05). The conception rates after OVSYNCH/TAI in cows which recovered ovarian cyclicity within 34 d postpartum were significantly higher than in cows with first ovulation ≥56 d (P<0.05). These results indicated that the nutritional state in cows peripartum influenced the conception rates after OVSYNCH/TAI and the postpartum ovarian cyclicity and also suggested that the conception rates after OVSYNCH/TAI decreased in cows with delayed recovery of ovarian cyclicity.
The selenoprotein phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase (PHGPx) is highly expressed in testes under gonadotropin control. The expression patterns of PHGPx mRNA by 17β-estradiol (E2) as an estrogen and tamoxifen (Tam) as an estrogen antagonist were investigated in the reproductive organs of male rats. Twelve-week-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were subcutaneously injected with E2 (7.5 μg/kg/day) or Tam (5 mg/kg/day) for 1 week. The E2 treatment significantly increased the levels of PHGPx mRNA in both testes and prostates, whereas the Tam treatment significantly decreased the levels of PHGPx mRNA, compared to the vehicle control (p<0.01). The treatment with E2 or Tam slightly decreased the levels of PHGPx mRNA in epididymides. In histopathological examination, severe vacuolization and depletion of germ cells in the seminiferous tubules, cell debris in the tubular lumen, and mild proliferative changes in interstitial tissues were observed in the testes of Tam-treated rats, whereas only mild spermatogonial proliferation was observed in the seminiferous tubules of E2-treated rats. There were no typical histopathological changes in the epididymides of any of the laboratory rats but mild epithelial proliferation in the prostates of E2- and Tam-treated rats. These results suggest that PHGPx mRNA expression may be influenced by estrogen in the male reproductive organs.
GABA is capable of mimicking and potentiating the action of progesterone in initiating the acrosome reaction (AR) of mammalian sperm. The GABA-initiated AR is mediated by GABAAR; whereas GABABR1 protein found in rat testis and sperm tends to modify this process. Moreover, the occurrence of GABABR2, a subunit essential for the formation of a functionally active GABA BR, in rat testis and sperm has not been established. In the present study, rat testis and sperm were analyzed for the presence of GABABR2 transcript and protein by RT-PCR, Northern blot, Western blot and an indirect immunofluorescence technique. Northern blot shows that the transcript of testis GABABR2 is shorter (~3.0 Kb) than that of the brain (~5.6 Kb). The full length testis GABABR2 cDNA was prepared by RACE-PCR and found to be shorter by 2.2 Kb in the segment at the extreme terminus of 3'UTR of rat brain GABABR2 but, the sequences corresponding to the open reading frame and 5'-UTR of rat testis GABABR2 were found to be identical to those of rat brain. GABABR2 protein isolated from rat epididymal sperm was slighter larger than those of rat testis and brain. It was principally localized in the acrosome region of the head of rat sperm by an indirect immunofluorescence technique. The present results establish that GABABR2 protein is produced in rat testis and sperm and may play a role in GABA triggering of AR.
The effect of vinclozolin (VCZ), used as a fungicide and known to have anti-androgenic effects on spermatogenesis and gene expression in the male rat testis was investigated. In Experiment 1, VCZ (100 mg/kg/day) or flutamide (FM, 25 mg/kg/day) was orally administered to male Holzman rats for six days. 8 days after the last administration (D8), a drastic increase in intratesticular testosterone was detected in FM (4.2-fold over control) but not in VCZ treated animals, whereas on D36 post-administration, both groups showed similar levels. Significant decreases in daily sperm production were seen in both VCZ and FM-treated rats on D36. Semiquantitative RT-PCR analysis with testicular and pituitary mRNAs on D8 revealed that LHβ and FSHβ mRNAs were increased in the pituitary by VCZ, as well as by FM. Among the four testicular steroidogenic enzyme genes, cytochrome P450 side chain cleavage (P450scc) and cytochrome P450 17α/C17-20 lyase (P450c17) mRNAs were significantly increased, whereas 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type III (17βHSD) mRNA was not changed. A significant increase in 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I (3βHSD) and a decrease in androgen receptor (AR) mRNA were observed only in FM treated rats. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated intense staining of P450scc in the interstitial cells of VCZ-treated testis on D8. In Experiment 2, hormone levels were measured at 1, 3, 6, 12 and 24 hours after VCZ (100 mg/kg) administration to Sprague-Dawley rats. Serum LH level remained constant for the first 3 hours and started to increase at 6 hrs. In contrast, serum and intratesticular testosterone levels increased 2-fold at 1 hr and maintained the level until 24 hrs. P450c17 mRNA level was 2-fold increased at all periods, whereas no obvious changes were detected in the other steroidogenic enzyme genes. Although not statistically significant, AR mRNA level increased 2-fold, 3 hrs after VCZ administration. These results indicate that VCZ affects the pituitary in a similar manner as FM, but functions differently on testicular gene expression.