Regulation of genes encoding steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) and gonadotropin subunits in the ovine pituitary gland

M. Baratta, A. M. Turzillo, A. Arreguin-Arevalo, C. M. Clay, T. M. Nett

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3 Scopus citations


Steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) is a transcription factor originally characterized as a mediator of gene expression in steroidogenic tissues. Studies in SF-1 knockout mice revealed that SF-1 has additional roles at multiple levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, including regulation of gene expression in pituitary gonadotropes. Specific binding sites for SF-1 have been demonstrated in several pituitary genes with essential roles in gonadotropin synthesis, including α subunit, LHβ subunit, and GnRH receptor. In studies aimed at identifying physiological factors controlling pituitary expression of SF-1, GnRH has been implicated as a co-regulator of SF-1 and gonadotropin subunit genes. In both rats and ewes, elevated endogenous secretion of GnRH following ovariectomy was associated with increased amounts of SF-1 mRNA in the anterior pituitary gland. Conversely, removal of GnRH input to the pituitary gland by hypothalamic-pituitary disconnection (HPD) in ovariectomized (OVX) ewes reduced SF-1 expression. Despite these changes, however, treatment of OVX ewes with GnRH following HPD only partially restored levels of SF-1 mRNA in the pituitary gland. Therefore, it is possible that regulation of SF-1 gene expression by GnRH during the estrous cycle may involve ovarian hormones or other hypothalamic factors. Additional studies are required to further define the physiological roles of SF-1 in regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis in domestic ruminants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-131
Number of pages11
JournalDomestic Animal Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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