The effects of estradiol benzoate (EB) on steroidogenesis in rat zona fasciculata‐reticularis (ZFR) cells were studied. Female rats were ovariectomized (Ovx) for 2 weeks and then injected subcutaneously with oil or EB for 3 days before decapitation. ZFR cells were isolated and incubated with adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) or prolactin (PRL) for 1 h. Corticosterone concentrations in plasma and cell media, and adenosine 3′,5′‐cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) production in ZFR cells were determined by radioimmunoassay. The effects of EB replacement in vivo on the activities of steroidogenic enzymes in ZFR cells were measured by the amounts of intermediate steroidal products separated by thin‐layer chromatography. Replacement of EB in vivo resulted in a dose‐dependent increase of plasma PRL and corticosterone in Ovx rats. The basal, ACTH‐, and PRL‐stimulated release of corticosterone by ZFR cells was greater in EB‐ than in oil‐treated animals. Forskolin‐induced production of cAMP was greater in the EB‐replaced rats than in oil‐treated animals, which correlated with the increase of corticosterone production. The 3‐isobutyl‐l‐methylxanthine (IBMX) plus ACTH‐, IBMX plus PRL‐, and forskolin plus PRL‐stimulated productions of cAMP were higher in EB‐ than in oil‐treated rats. The enzyme activities of postpregnenolone were not affected by EB replacement in Ovx rats. These results suggest that the EB‐related increase of corticosterone production in Ovx rats is associated with an increase of cAMP generation and the stimulatory effect of PRL on ZFR cells. J. Cell. Biochem. 77:560‐568, 2000. © 2000 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
Journal of Cellular Biochemistry – Wiley
Published: Jun 15, 2000
Keywords: E2; corticosterone; cAMP; ZFR cells
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