Role of calcium in the regulation of theca cell androstenedione production in the domestic hen

J. M. Levorse, J. L. Tilly, A. L. Johnson

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5 Scopus citations


Theca cells were collected from the second largest preovulatory follicle. Chelation of extracellular calcium with EGTA attenuated (LH (10 ng)-induced androstenedione production by theca cells, and this effect was more pronounced in calcium-deficient than in calcium-replete incubation medium. Incubation of theca cells with steroidogenic agonists in the presence of the calcium channel blocker verapamil (100 μM) suppressed androstenedione production stimulated by LH (a 57% decrease), the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin (a 59% decrease) and the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) analog 8-bromo-cAMP (a 61% decrease). Furthermore, 3,4,5-trimethoxybenzoic acid 8-(diethylamino)octyl ester (TMB-8), a putative inhibitor of intracellular calcium mobilization, suppressed LH-induced androstenedione production in a dose-dependent fashion. The calmodulin inhibitors trifluoperazine (100 μM) and R24571 (50 μM) inhibited androstenedione production stimulated by hormonal (LH) and non-hormonal (forskolin, 8-bromo-cAMP) agonists (decreases ranging from 76 to 98%). While increasing the intracellular calcium ion concentrations with the calcium ionophore A23187 did not affect basal concentrations of androstenedione, treatment of LH-stimulated cells with the ionophore caused dose-dependent inhibition of androstenedione production; these effects were enhanced by coincubation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (a known activator of protein kinase C). We conclude that the mobilization of calcium is critical for agonist-stimulated steroidogenesis in hen theca cells, apparently requiring the interaction of calcium with its binding protein, calmodulin. Furthermore, increased cytosolic calcium concentrations may be involved in the suppression of androstenedione production, possibly as a result of an interaction with protein kinase C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-167
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of reproduction and fertility
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Embryology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology


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