The membrane proteins, low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and scavenger receptor class B member 1 (SR-BI, gene name Scarb1), are lipoprotein receptors that play central roles in lipoprotein metabolism. Cholesterol bound in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and LDL is transported into cells mainly by SR-BI and LDLR. The relative contribution of LDL and HDL to the steroidogenic cholesterol pool varies among species and may vary among tissues within one species. To investigate which of these pathways is more important in the supply of cholesterol in mouse ovary, we utilized immunohistochemistry, western blotting, RNAi, and RT-PCR as well as Ldlr−/− mice to explore the uptake of HDL and LDL in the ovary. Our data demonstrate that both SR-BI and LDLR are present in the interstitial cells, thecal cells, and corpora lutea (CLs), and their expression fluctuates with the development of follicles and CLs. The intracellular cholesterol concentration was significantly decreased when Ldlr or Scarb1 was silenced in luteal cells. Furthermore, Ldlr−/− mice had lower progesterone and estrogen levels compared to wild-type mice, and when Ldlr−/− mice were treated with the inhibitor of de novo cholesterol synthesis, lovastatin, serum progesterone, and estrogen concentrations were further reduced. These results demonstrate that both LDLR and SR-BI play important roles in importing cholesterol and that both HDL and LDL are crucial in steroidogenesis in mouse ovaries.
LDLR and SR-BI play important roles in importing cholesterol and both HDL and LDL are important in the stero/idogenesis in mouse ovaries.