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Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are expressed in different cell types of the human ovarian follicle and play important roles in the regulation of ovarian function. BMP-9, also known as growth differentiation factor-2 (GDF-2), belongs to the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily. BMP-9 is mainly synthesized in the liver and secreted into the blood which allows it to regulate various physiological and pathological functions. To date, the expression of BMP-9 in the human ovary and its function in human granulosa cells remains unknown. In the present study, we detect the protein expression of BMP-9 in the human follicular fluid. Using the primary culture of human granulosa-lutein (hGL) cells obtained from patients undergoing in vitro fertilization as a cell model, we show that treatment with BMP-9 downregulates steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) expression and suppresses progesterone (P4) production. The expression levels of the P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc) and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) are not affected by BMP-9 treatment. Mechanistically, treatment of hGL cells with BMP-9 activates both SMAD1/5/8 and SMAD2/3 signaling pathways. Blocking the activations of SMAD1/5/8 and SMAD2/3 by pharmacological inhibitors or knockdown of SMAD4 attenuates the inhibitory effects of BMP-9 on StAR expression and P4 production. This study reveals a novel function of BMP-9 in the regulation of ovarian steroidogenesis. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Lanlan Fang, Qiongqiong Jia, Boqun Liu, Yang Yan, Xiaoyu Han, Yanjie Guo, Jung-Chien Cheng, Ying-Pu Sun. BMP-9 downregulates StAR expression and progesterone production by activating both SMAD1/5/8 and SMAD2/3 signaling pathways in human granulosa-lutein cells obtained from gonadotropins induced ovarian cycles. Cellular signalling. 2021 Oct;86:110089

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PMID: 34265413

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