Expression of neurokinin B/NK3 receptor and kisspeptin/KISS1 receptor in human granulosa cells

Garcia-Ortega J, Pinto F M, Fernandez-Sanchez M, Prados N, Cejudo-Roman A, Almeida T A, Hernandez M, Romero M, Tena-Sempere M, Candenas L,
Hum Reprod. Dec. 2014 doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu247
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STUDY QUESTION: Are neurokinin B (NKB), NK3 receptor (NK3R), kisspeptin (KISS1) and kisspeptin receptor (KISS1R) expressed in human ovarian granulosa cells? SUMMARY ANSWER: The NKB/NK3R and kisspeptin/KISS1R systems are co-expressed and functionally active in ovarian granulosa cells. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The NKB/NK3R and KISS1/KISS1R systems are essential for reproduction. In addition to their well-recognized role in hypothalamic neurons, these peptide systems may contribute to the control of fertility by acting directly on the gonads, but such a direct gonadal role remains largely unknown. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This study analyzed matched mural granulosa cells (MGCs) and cumulus cells (CCs) collected from preovulatory follicles of oocyte donors at the time of oocyte retrieval. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The samples were provided by 56 oocyte donor women undergoing ovarian stimulation treatment. Follicular fluid samples containing MGCs and cumulus-oocyte complexes were collected after transvaginal ultrasound-guided oocyte retrieval. RT-PCR, quantitative real-time PCR, immunocytochemistry and western blot were used to investigate the pattern of expression of the NKB/NK3R and KISS/KISS1R systems in MGCs and CCs. Intracellular free Ca(2+) levels, [Ca(2+)]i, in MGCs after exposure to NKB or KISS1, in the presence or not of tachykinin receptor antagonists, were also measured. MAIN OUTCOME AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: NKB/NK3R and KISS1/KISS1R systems were expressed, at the mRNA and protein levels, in MGCs and CCs, with significantly higher expression in CCs. Kisspeptin increased the [Ca(2+)]i in the cytosol of human MGCs while exposure to NKB failed to induce any change in [Ca(2+)]i. However, the [Ca(2+)]i response to kisspeptin was reduced in the presence of NKB. The inhibitory effect of NKB was only partially mimicked by the NK3R agonist, senktide and marginally suppressed by the NK3R-selective antagonist SB 222200. Yet, a cocktail of antagonists selective for the NK1, NK2 and NK3 receptors blocked the effect of NKB. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The granulosa and cumulus cells were obtained from oocyte donors undergoing ovarian stimulation, which in comparison with natural cycles, may have affected gene and protein expression in granulosa cells. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Our data demonstrate that, in addition to their indispensable effects at the central nervous system, the NKB/NK3R and kisspeptin/KISS1R systems are co-expressed and are functionally active in non-neuronal reproductive cells of the female gonads, the ovarian granulosa cells. STUDY FUNDING/ COMPETING INTERESTS: This work was supported by grants from Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (CTQ2011-25564 and BFI2011-25021) and Junta de Andalucia (P08-CVI-04185), Spain. J.G.-O., F.M.P., M.F.-S., N.P., A.C.-R., T.A.A., M.H., M.R., M.T.-S. and L.C. have nothing to declare.