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      Influence of mycotoxin zearalenone and its derivatives (alpha and beta zearalenol) on apoptosis and proliferation of cultured granulosa cells from equine ovaries


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          The mycotoxin zearalenone (ZEA) and its derivatives, alpha and beta-zearalenol (alpha and beta-ZOL), synthesized by genera Fusarium, often occur as contaminants in cereal grains and animal feeds. The importance of ZEA on reproductive disorders is well known in domestic animals species, particularly in swine and cattle. In the horse, limited data are available to date on the influence of dietary exposure to ZEA on reproductive health and on its in vitro effects on reproductive cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of ZEA and its derivatives, alpha and beta-ZOL, on granulosa cells (GCs) from the ovaries of cycling mares.


          The cell proliferation was evaluated by using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test after 3 days exposure at different concentrations of ZEA and its derivatives (from 1 × 10-7 to 0.1 microM). The apoptosis induction was evaluated after 1 day exposure, by DNA analysis using flow cytometry.


          An increase in cell proliferation with respect to the control was observed in the presence of ZEA at 1 × 10-3 and 1 × 10-4 microM and apoptosis was induced by all mycotoxins at different concentrations.


          The simultaneous presence of apoptosis and proliferation in GC cultures treated with zearalenones could indicate that these mycotoxins could be effective in inducing follicular atresia. These effects of zearalenones may result from both direct interaction with oestrogen-receptors as well as interaction with the enzymes 3alpha (beta)-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD), involved in the synthesis and metabolism of endogenous steroid hormones. These cellular disturbances, described for the first time in equine GCs cultured in vitro, could be hypothesized as referred to reproductive failures of unknown ethiology in the mare.

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          Most cited references 49

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          A review of worldwide contamination of cereal grains and animal feed with Fusarium mycotoxins

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            Human 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase isoforms (AKR1C1-AKR1C4) of the aldo-keto reductase superfamily: functional plasticity and tissue distribution reveals roles in the inactivation and formation of male and female sex hormones.

            The kinetic parameters, steroid substrate specificity and identities of reaction products were determined for four homogeneous recombinant human 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3alpha-HSD) isoforms of the aldo-keto reductase (AKR) superfamily. The enzymes correspond to type 1 3alpha-HSD (AKR1C4), type 2 3alpha(17beta)-HSD (AKR1C3), type 3 3alpha-HSD (AKR1C2) and 20alpha(3alpha)-HSD (AKR1C1), and share at least 84% amino acid sequence identity. All enzymes acted as NAD(P)(H)-dependent 3-, 17- and 20-ketosteroid reductases and as 3alpha-, 17beta- and 20alpha-hydroxysteroid oxidases. The functional plasticity of these isoforms highlights their ability to modulate the levels of active androgens, oestrogens and progestins. Salient features were that AKR1C4 was the most catalytically efficient, with k(cat)/K(m) values for substrates that exceeded those obtained with other isoforms by 10-30-fold. In the reduction direction, all isoforms inactivated 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (17beta-hydroxy-5alpha-androstan-3-one; 5alpha-DHT) to yield 5alpha-androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol (3alpha-androstanediol). However, only AKR1C3 reduced Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione to produce significant amounts of testosterone. All isoforms reduced oestrone to 17beta-oestradiol, and progesterone to 20alpha-hydroxy-pregn-4-ene-3,20-dione (20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone). In the oxidation direction, only AKR1C2 converted 3alpha-androstanediol to the active hormone 5alpha-DHT. AKR1C3 and AKR1C4 oxidized testosterone to Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione. All isoforms oxidized 17beta-oestradiol to oestrone, and 20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone to progesterone. Discrete tissue distribution of these AKR1C enzymes was observed using isoform-specific reverse transcriptase-PCR. AKR1C4 was virtually liver-specific and its high k(cat)/K(m) allows this enzyme to form 5alpha/5beta-tetrahydrosteroids robustly. AKR1C3 was most prominent in the prostate and mammary glands. The ability of AKR1C3 to interconvert testosterone with Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione, but to inactivate 5alpha-DHT, is consistent with this enzyme eliminating active androgens from the prostate. In the mammary gland, AKR1C3 will convert Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione to testosterone (a substrate aromatizable to 17beta-oestradiol), oestrone to 17beta-oestradiol, and progesterone to 20alpha-hydroxyprogesterone, and this concerted reductive activity may yield a pro-oesterogenic state. AKR1C3 is also the dominant form in the uterus and is responsible for the synthesis of 3alpha-androstanediol which has been implicated as a parturition hormone. The major isoforms in the brain, capable of synthesizing anxiolytic steroids, are AKR1C1 and AKR1C2. These studies are in stark contrast with those in rat where only a single AKR with positional- and stereo-specificity for 3alpha-hydroxysteroids exists.
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              Ovarian follicle atresia: a hormonally controlled apoptotic process.


                Author and article information

                Reprod Biol Endocrinol
                Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 November 2006
                : 4
                : 62
                [1 ]Institute of Sciences of Food Production (ISPA), National Research Council (CNR), Via Amendola 122/O, 70124 Bari, Italy
                [2 ]Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Strada Provinciale per Casamassima Km 3, 70010 Valenzano Bari, Italy
                [3 ]Deceased
                Copyright © 2006 Minervini et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Human biology


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