We have investigated the effects of purified α-fetoprotein (AFP) on follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)-stimulated estradiol production by porcine granulosa cells in monolayer culture. Granulosa cells isolated from small follicles of prepubertal pigs were cultured for 2 days in 5% fetal bovine serum for attachment and incubated for 3 days in medium containing androstenedione and various treatments. The media were then collected and assayed for estradiol by radioimmunoassay. Human AFP significantly (P < 0.05) and dose-dependently inhibited FSH-stimulated estradiol production with 313 ng/ml AFP returning FSH-stimulated estradiol to basal levels; human serum albumin was without effect. AFP purified from either term cord blood or midtrimester amniotic fluid dose-dependently inhibited estradiol production stimulated by the combination of FSH and insulin-like growth factor-I. Furthermore, 125 ng/ml AFP inhibited estradiol production stimulated by cholera toxin, forskolin and cAMP. In contrast, extracellular accumulation of cAMP and progesterone production was not inhibited by AFP. These data indicate that physiological concentrations of purified AFP significantly and dose-dependently inhibit FSH-stimulated estradiol production by porcine granulosa cells in culture. Since AFP is known to augment growth factor-mediated cell growth, these data suggest that AFP inhibits differentiated functions (such as aromatase) while enhancing the proliferation of porcine granulosa cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology