Cytokine-mediated regulation of ovarian function: interleukin-1 inhibits gonadotropin-induced androgen biosynthesis.


Resident ovarian macrophages have long been recognized as potential in situ regulators of ovarian function, presumably through local paracrine secretion of regulatory molecules (i.e. cytokines). One such macrophage product, interleukin-1 (IL-1) has recently been shown to exert profound regulatory effects at the level of the ovarian granulosa cell. In this report, we examine the possibility that the adjacent theca-interstitial (androgen-producing) cell may also be a site of IL-1 reception and action. The basal accumulation of androsterone, the major androgenic steroid synthesized by whole ovarian dispersates from immature rats, in the presence of insulin (1 microgram/ml), increased 8- to 9-fold after treatment with human CG (1 ng/ml). Although IL-1 alpha or IL-1 beta (10 ng/ml) by themselves were without effect on basal androsterone accumulation, both cytokines (IL-1 beta greater than IL-1 alpha) inhibited human CG hormonal action (in the presence of insulin) in a dose-dependent manner, the maximal inhibitory effect being 75%. Similar results were obtained when using highly purified theca-interstitial cells derived from the same animal model suggesting that IL-1-attenuated androgen biosynthesis is due, at least in part, to IL-1 acting directly at the level of the theca-interstitial cells. The IL-1 effect proved relatively specific since all other known interleukins (IL-1, IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-6) were without effect. Moreover, IL-1 beta action was effectively immunoneutralized when concurrently applied with anti-IL-1 beta (but not nonimmune) sera. Significantly, the antigonadotropic action of IL-1 could not be accounted for by a decrease in the viable cell mass. Tracer studies with radiolabeled steroid substrates suggested that IL-1-attenuated ovarian androsterone accumulation is due, if only in part, to inhibition of transformations catalyzed by (theca-interstitial) 17 alpha-hydroxylase/17:20 lyase, stimulation of theca-interstitial (or granulosa 20 alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-mediated conversions, or both. Taken together, these findings indicate that relatively low concentrations of IL-1, possibly originating from somatic ovarian cells or resident ovarian macrophages, are capable of exerting an inhibitory effect upon gonadotropin-supported androgen production. As such, these and previous observations suggest that intraovarian IL-1 may play a dual regulatory role in the developing ovarian follicle by targeting both the granulosa and theca-interstitial cells as its sites of action.


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@article{Hurwitz1991CytokinemediatedRO, title={Cytokine-mediated regulation of ovarian function: interleukin-1 inhibits gonadotropin-induced androgen biosynthesis.}, author={A Hurwitz and D W Payne and J N Packman and C L Andreani and C E Resnick and E R Hernandez and E Y Adashi}, journal={Endocrinology}, year={1991}, volume={129 3}, pages={1250-6} }