Cryptotanshinone Regulates Androgen Synthesis through the ERK/c-Fos/CYP17 Pathway in Porcine Granulosa Cells


The aim of the study is to investigate the molecular mechanism behind androgen reduction in porcine granulosa cells (pGCs) with Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge extract cryptotanshinone. PGCs were isolated from porcine ovaries and identified. Androgen excess model of the pGCs was induced with the MAPK inhibitor PD98059 and then treated with cryptotanshinone. The testosterone level was measured by radioimmunoassay in the culture media. The protein levels of P-ERK1/2, c-Fos, and CYP17 in the cells were measured by western blot. Cryptotanshinone decreased the concentration of testosterone and the protein level of CYP17 and increased the protein levels of P-ERK1/2 and c-Fos in the androgen excess mode. After the c-Fos gene was silenced by infection with c-Fos shRNA lentivirus, we measured the mRNA expression by quantitative RT-PCR and protein level by western blot of P-ERK1/2, c-Fos, and CYP17. This showed that the mRNA expression and protein level of P-ERK1/2 and c-Fos were significantly reduced in the shRNA–c-Fos group compared to the scrambled group, while those of CYP17 were significantly increased. So we concluded that cryptotanshinone can significantly reduce the androgen excess induced by PD98059 in pGCs. The possible molecular mechanism for this activity is regulating the ERK/c-Fos/CYP17 pathway

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