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J Mol Endocrinol October 1, 2011; 47 (2): 241-50.
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Aromatase expression in Xenopus oocytes: a three cell-type model for the ovarian estradiol synthesis.

Gohin M , Bodinier P , Fostier A , Bobe J , Chesnel F .

In contrast to the classical model describing the synthesis of androgens and estrogens as restricted to somatic cells, a previous study demonstrated that Xenopus laevis oocytes participate in androgen synthesis. The objective of our study was to determine whether Xenopus oocytes are also involved in estrogen synthesis. More precisely, we analyzed aromatase expression by in situ hybridization and RT-QPCR and measured aromatase activity. Aromatase, the enzyme responsible for estrogen synthesis, appears to be expressed and active not only in the follicular cells but also in the vitellogenic oocytes. During late oogenesis, aromatase oocyte expression and activity decreased concomitantly with the trend observed in surrounding follicular layers. In order to investigate the role of estradiol-17β (E(2)), we studied its effect on oocyte meiotic resumption. It appears that, as in Rana pipiens, E(2) inhibited the follicle-enclosed maturation of Xenopus oocytes, likely through inhibition of LH-induced maturation-inducing steroid synthesis. In addition, E(2) exerted a slight enhancing action on denuded oocyte maturation whose biological significance remains unclear. Together, our results demonstrate that Xenopus oocyte significantly participates in ovarian E(2) synthesis and this may be a common feature of vitellogenic vertebrates.

PubMed ID: 21768170
Article link: J Mol Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cyp19a1