The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of progestins on progesterone synthesis and expression of the cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage gene (P450scc) in a stable porcine granulosa cell line, the JC-410. Cells were incubated for 48 h with the synthetic progestogen-levornorgestrel with or without RU486 (progesterone and glucocorticoid receptor antagonist) or RWJ26819 (progesterone agonist without affinity to glucocorticoid receptors). Both levonorgestrel and RU486 enhanced progesterone accumulation in a dose-dependent manner. RU486 did not antagonize the effects of levonorgestrel, and RWJ26819 had no effect on progesterone production in cultured JC-410 cells. Progesterone and levonorgestrel increased steady state P450scc mRNA levels after 3–6 h of treatment. Progesterone and RU486 at 0.1, 1, and 10 μM increased the transcription rate of P450scc transiently expressed in JC-410 cells after 18 h of incubation; 30 μM had no effect, and 100 μM suppressed transcription. Levonorgestrel did not affect transcription of the P450scc gene, and RWJ26819 reduced its transcription. Progesterone and RU486 significantly decreased the number of cells and total protein content after 72 and 24 h of incubation, respectively. Levonorgestrel had no effect, whereas RWJ26819 increased (24 h) but subsequently reduced (72 h) cell number and protein content. The present results indicate that progestins are capable of directly modulating progesterone biosynthesis in porcine JC-410 granulosa cells. These effects may be exerted in part through the regulation of P450scc gene expression. Ostensible differences exist between progesterone and its synthetic analogues in the control of progesterone secretion in the stable porcine granulosa cell line in vitro.
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