Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology


L. P. Salles A , R. B. Vasconcelos A , I. Oliveira e Silva A , L. V. M. Gulart A , F. A. G. Torres A , D. K. de Souza A and A. A. M. Rosa e Silva A
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Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brasil

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 22(1) 269-269
Published: 8 December 2009


Granulosa cells (GC) and theca cells (TC) luteinize in culture because of the presence of serum in the medium and, as a consequence, the production of progesterone (P4) increases and that of 17β-estradiol (E2) decreases. The follicular phase of the bovine estrous cycle is characterized by the presence of E2, as well as aromatase activity, that is turned off in the atresia or in the luteal phase of the bovine estrous cycle. We propose to characterize 2 co-culture systems utilizing slices of follicular walls (explants) containing both GC and TC and to cultivate them in nondefined medium (NDM; TCM199+serum) or defined medium (DM; α MEM+polyvinyl alcohol). To prepare the explants, 80 follicles measuring 4 to 6 mm in diameter were selected. Concentrations of P4 and E2 were evaluated by RIA after 24, 48, and 72 h of culture and values were corrected by tissue weight (10 mg). Morphological analysis of the explants was stained with hematoxylin and eosin. The total mRNA from GC-TC explants was purified and the expression of the following genes was estimated by RT-PCR: bovine 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD3B1), cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (CYP11A1), 17|3-hydroxylase (CYP17), aromatase cytochrome P450 (CYP19), steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHr), and the housekeeping gene glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPD) as internal control. The results were analyzed by two-way ANOVA followedby Bonferroni least-significant tests. Microscopic analyses showed that cells cultured in NDM lost their polyhedral shape and acquired a fibroblast-like form. Defined medium maintained GC morphology with low cytoplasm:nucleus ratio and GC-GC contact, similar to in vivo cells. In NDM, the concentration of P4 increased as opposed to that of E2, which decreased after 48 h of culture. In DM, the concentrations of P4 and E2 were maintained in the first 48 h of culture. The level of P4 in NDM was higher than in DM during all periods tested. Our data show that CYP11A1 expression remains absent in NDM for follicles explants that initially did not express CYP11A1, whereas in DM the expression of this gene appears after 24, 48, or 72 h of culture, evidence that indicates rescue from atresia. It is important to notice that gene expression of steroidogenic enzymes in DM were higher than in NDM. Very low levels of CYP11A1 and CYP19 were observed in the NDM group. On the other hand, in the DM group there was a progressive increase of all the steroidogenic enzymes and FSHr, which reached a peak at 48 h of culture. In conclusion, our results suggest that DM showed a stimulating effect on steroidogenic activity of GC-TC co-culture similar to that observed in vivo for functional growing follicle, whereas in NDM the explants seemed to mimic luteinizing follicles.

Grants from FAP-DF, Finatec, CNPq, and Capes.

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