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1 August 2004 Functional Luteinizing Hormone/Chorionic Gonadotropin Receptors in Human Adrenal Cortical H295R Cells
ChV. Rao, X. L. Zhou, Z. M. Lei
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Previous studies have suggested that activation of normal human adrenal and adrenal tumor luteinizing hormone (LH)/chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) receptors results in an increased secretion of steroid hormones. Since it is not feasible to test this suggestion on normal human adrenal cells, we used human adrenal cortical carcinoma H295R cells, which are similar in some respects to normal adrenal cortical cells. These cells contained LH/hCG receptor transcripts and receptor protein that can bind 125I-hCG in a hormone-specific manner. Culturing the cells with highly purified hCG resulted in a time- and dose-dependent significant increase in dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) secretion as compared with the controls. The DHEAS response was hormone as well as steroid specific. Since hCG treatment did not increase DHEA secretion, we suspected that the hCG might increase DHEA sulfotransferase (ST). Consistent with this possibility, hCG treatment increased steady-state DHEA-ST mRNA levels. The hCG effects require its receptors, as inhibition of their synthesis by treatment with antisense phosphorothioate oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) made from the LH/hCG receptor sequence resulted in loss of DHEA-ST and DHEAS responses. The findings that 1) hCG treatment increased cAMP levels and activated protein kinase A (PKA), 2) 8-bromo cAMP mimicked hCG, and 3) blocking PKA activation prevented hCG as well as 8-bromo cAMP from increasing both DHEA-ST mRNA and DHEAS levels suggested that cAMP/PKA signaling was involved in the hCG actions. In conclusion, H295R cells contain LH/hCG receptors, which are coupled to increasing DHEAS secretion through upregulating the ST enzyme mRNA level. This action is mediated by the cAMP/PKA signaling pathway. These findings support the concept that adrenal function in normal and pathological conditions could be influenced by LH and hCG.

ChV. Rao, X. L. Zhou, and Z. M. Lei "Functional Luteinizing Hormone/Chorionic Gonadotropin Receptors in Human Adrenal Cortical H295R Cells," Biology of Reproduction 71(2), 579-587, (1 August 2004).
Received: 10 January 2004; Accepted: 1 April 2004; Published: 1 August 2004
cyclic adenosine monophosphate
human chorionic gonadotropin
luteinizing hormone
steroid hormones
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