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1 December 2008 Impaired Follicle Development and Infertility in Female Mice Lacking Steroidogenic Factor 1 in Ovarian Granulosa Cells
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The nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1 [officially designated NR5A1]) is essential for fetal gonadal development, but its roles in postnatal ovarian function are less well defined. Herein, we have extended our analyses of knockout (KO) mice with markedly decreased SF-1 expression in granulosa cells. As described, these SF-1 KO mice had hypoplastic ovaries that contained a decreased number of follicles and lacked corpora lutea. In the present study, we showed that SF-1 KO mice exhibited abnormal estrous cycles, were infertile, and released significantly fewer oocytes in response to a standard superovulation regimen. Moreover, they had blunted induction of plasma estradiol in response to gonadotropins. The granulosa cell-specific SF-1 KO also significantly affected ovarian expression of putative SF-1 target genes. Consistent with their decreased follicle number, these mice had reduced ovarian expression of anti-müllerian hormone (Amh), which correlates with the reserve pool of ovarian follicles, as well as decreased gonadotropin-induced ovarian expression of aromatase (Cyp19a1) and cyclin D2 (Ccnd2). In contrast, perhaps because of their abnormal cyclicity, SF-1 KO ovaries had higher basal expression of inhibin-alpha. They also had decreased immunoreactivity for genes related to proliferation (Ccnd2 and Mki67 [also known as Ki67]) and increased expression of Cdkn1b, also known as p27, which inhibits cyclin-dependent kinases, arguing for a role of SF-1 in granulosa cell proliferation. These findings demonstrate that SF-1 has a key role in female reproduction via essential actions in granulosa cells.

Carla Pelusi, Yayoi Ikeda, Mohamad Zubair, and Keith L. Parker "Impaired Follicle Development and Infertility in Female Mice Lacking Steroidogenic Factor 1 in Ovarian Granulosa Cells," Biology of Reproduction 79(6), 1074-1083, (1 December 2008).
Received: 25 March 2008; Accepted: 1 July 2008; Published: 1 December 2008

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