Progesterone and 17β-estradiol regulate expression of nesfatin-1/NUCB2 in mouse pituitary gland

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Abstract

Nesfatin-1 was first shown to be involved in the control of appetite and energy metabolism in the hypothalamus. Many recent reports have shown nesfatin-1 expression in various tissues including the pituitary gland, but its expression and regulation mechanisms in the pituitary gland are unclear. Therefore, first, we investigated the mRNA and protein expression of nesfatin-1 in the pituitary using qRT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Expression of NUCB2 mRNA and nesfatin-1 protein was higher in the pituitary gland than in other organs, and nesfatin-1 protein was localized in many cells in the anterior pituitary gland. Next, we investigated whether NUCB2 mRNA expression in the pituitary gland was regulated by sex steroid hormones secreted by the ovary. Mice were ovariectomized and injected with progesterone (P4) and 17β-estradiol (E2). The expression of NUCB2 in the pituitary gland was dramatically decreased after ovariectomy and increased with injection of P4 and E2, respectively. The in vitro experiment to elucidate the direct effect of P4 and E2 on NUCB2 mRNA expression showed NUCB2 mRNA expression was significantly increased with E2 and decreased with P4 alone and P4 plus E2 in cultured pituitary tissue. The present study demonstrated that nesfatin-1/NUCB2 was highly expressed in the mouse pituitary and was regulated by P4 and E2. These data suggest that reproductive-endocrine regulation through hypothalamus–pituitary–ovary axis may contribute to nesfatin-1/NUCB2 expression in the pituitary gland.

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