Indexed on: 30 May '06Published on: 30 May '06Published in: The Journal of endocrinology
In vertebrates, sperm development and maturation are directly regulated by gonadal steroid hormone secretion. The relationships among the expression of genes encoding steroidogenic proteins and receptors for gonadotropins, and testicular steroid production have not yet been comprehensively determined in male teleosts. In this study, the changes in levels of mRNAs encoding follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor, luteinizing hormone (LH) receptor, steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cytochrome P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage, 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/delta5-4-isomerase, cytochrome P450 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase, cytochrome P450 11beta-hydroxylase, 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and 20beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase were determined by real-time, quantitative PCR assays and related to changes in serum steroid levels throughout the reproductive cycle in male rainbow trout. Serum 11-ketotestosterone and 17alpha,20beta-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one levels were measured by RIA. Although the pattern of change in the mRNA levels for the enzymes was variable, the increases in steroidogenic enzyme mRNAs started prior to a significant increase of serum steroid levels. The patterns of transcript levels of FSH and LH receptors suggest that changes in StAR and steroidogenic enzyme transcripts are largely mediated by the FSH receptor during early and mid-spermatogenesis and by the LH receptor during late spermatogenesis and spermiation. Levels of StAR (10-fold) and P450 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase (sevenfold) transcripts changed with the greatest magnitude and were closely related to the changes in serum steroids, suggesting that changes in StAR and P450 17alpha-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase abundance are likely to be the major influences on overall steroidogenic output during the reproductive cycle in male rainbow trout.