The essential role of arachidonic acid (AA) in steroidogenesis has been previously demonstrated. The present study continues the investigation into how AA regulates steroidogenesis by examining the effects of epoxygenase-derived AA metabolites on cAMP-stimulated steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) gene expression and steroid hormone production in MA-10 mouse Leydig cells. The HPLC analysis of cell extracts from MA-10 cells treated with the cAMP analog dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP) demonstrated an increase in three epoxygenase-generated AA metabolites: 5,6-epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET), 8,9-EET, and 11,12-EET. Incubating MA-10 cells with each of the EETs induced a dose-dependent increase in StAR protein expression and steroid hormone production in the presence of dbcAMP. These metabolites also significantly enhanced StAR gene transcription as determined by luciferase assays of StAR, promoter activity and reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis of StAR mRNA levels. While the EETs enhanced steroidogenesis, inhibiting the activity of protein kinase A (PKA) abolished the stimulatory effects of these AA metabolites on StAR expression and steroid hormone production. This study suggests that cAMP stimulation of MA-10 cells increases epoxygenase-generated AA metabolites and the co-action of these metabolites with PKA significantly increases StAR gene expression and steroid hormone production.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism