Document Detail

Hormonal regulation of beta-endorphin in the testis.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2838695     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
It is well established that beta-endorphin has a regulatory influence on the reproductive function at the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. However, recent immunohistochemical evidence demonstrated that beta-endorphin is also present in the Leydig cells of fetal, neonatal and adult mice and hamsters. In addition, beta-endorphin synthesis was localized in the Leydig cells of adult rats, leading to the hypothesis of a direct function of the peptide in the reproductive organs. Our interest was to investigate the role of beta-endorphin at testicular level. We have demonstrated the presence of high-affinity opioid binding sites (Kd in the nanomolar range) in tubular homogenates and Sertoli cells in culture of adult (50 days) and immature (18 days post-natal) rat testes. Also, chronic beta-endorphin treatment of the Sertoli cells significantly inhibited basal and FSH-stimulated androgen-binding protein production, this effect being prevented by the universal opiate antagonist naloxone. No opiate binding was observed on Leydig cell cultures. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that acute or chronic beta-endorphin treatment does not affect testosterone production by Leydig cells in vitro, consistent with the absence of receptors on these cells. On the other hand, fetal Leydig cells (21 days fetal life) in culture produced considerable amounts of beta-endorphin. Also, fetal Leydig cells represented a preferred in vitro system to study beta-endorphin release since in adult cell culture a marked degradation of the peptide was detected (greater than 50%). beta-endorphin accumulation for 3 and 5 days was markedly increased by inhibitors of steroid biosynthesis (1.5-fold); a significant reduction by GnRH at both days (by 50-30%) was observed, while by dexamethasone the reduction was only noted after 5 days of treatment (by 50%). Acute stimulation (3 h) of control cells with hCG enhanced by 10-12-fold the beta-endorphin secretion. The hormone stimulation of beta-endorphin production was not mediated by testosterone. On the contrary, inhibition of Leydig cells steroid biosynthesis markedly increased basal and hCG-stimulated beta-endorphin production (150-200%), suggesting autocrine negative modulation of Leydig cell beta-endorphin by androgen and/or its metabolites. In contrast, dexamethasone reduced basal and hCG-stimulated beta-endorphin production (by 50%). Altogether these findings indicate that beta-endorphin produced within the Leydig cells may behave as a paracrine inhibitor of the Sertoli cell function and demonstrate that the peptide production is under direct control by gonadotropins and is modulated by steroids.
A Fabbri; M L Dufau
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of steroid biochemistry     Volume:  30     ISSN:  0022-4731     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Steroid Biochem.     Publication Date:  1988  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1988-08-11     Completed Date:  1988-08-11     Revised Date:  2003-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0260125     Medline TA:  J Steroid Biochem     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  347-52     Citation Subset:  IM    
Molecular Endocrinology Section, NICHD, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892.
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MeSH Terms
Cells, Cultured
Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology*
Dexamethasone / pharmacology*
Leydig Cells / metabolism
Models, Biological
Receptors, Opioid / metabolism
Sertoli Cells / metabolism
Testis / drug effects,  metabolism*
Testosterone / biosynthesis
beta-Endorphin / metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Chorionic Gonadotropin; 0/Receptors, Opioid; 50-02-2/Dexamethasone; 58-22-0/Testosterone; 60617-12-1/beta-Endorphin

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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