Testing the antagonistic effect of follistatin on BMP family members in ovine granulosa cells

Alice Pierre, Claudine Pisselet, Philippe Monget, Danielle Monniaux, Stéphane Fabre
Reproduction, Nutrition, Development 2005, 45 (4): 419-25
Follistatin was first demonstrated as an activin-binding protein, neutralizing its actions. However, there is emerging evidence that follistatin inhibits the action of other members of the transforming growth factor beta(TGFbeta) / bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) superfamily. Recently, numerous BMP factors have been shown to play important roles in regulating folliculogenesis and ovulation rate in mammals, and such a potential antagonistic role of follistatin is of particular interest in the context of ovarian function. Using a biological test based on progesterone production by ovine primary granulosa cells in culture, we show that follistatin was a strong antagonist of activin A, but not BMP-2 or BMP-4 actions. In contrast, noggin, a known specific BMP antagonist, had no effect on activin A but strongly neutralized BMP-2 and BMP-4 actions. BMP-6 action was only slightly reduced by both follistatin and noggin. Our data led to the conclusion that follistatin would not represent a determinant physiological modulator of the biological effect of BMP factors on granulosa cells.

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