Activation of GPER-1 estradiol receptor downregulates production of testosterone in isolated rat Leydig cells and adult human testis.
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Estradiol (E2) modulates testicular functions including steroidogenesis, but the mechanisms of E2 signaling in human testis are poorly understood. GPER-1 (GPR30), a G protein-coupled membrane receptor, mediates rapid genomic and non-genomic response to estrogens. The aim of this study was to evaluate GPER-1 expression in the testis, and its role in estradiol dependent regulation of steroidogenesis in isolated rat Leydig cells and human testis.Isolated Leydig cells (LC) from adult rats and human testicular tissue were used in this study. Expression and localization studies of GPER-1 were performed with qRT-PCR, immunofluorescence, immunohistochemistry and Western Blot. Luteinizing Hormone (LH) -stimulated, isolated LC were incubated with estradiol, G-1 (GPER-1-selective agonist), and estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780. Testosterone production was measured with radioimmunoassay. LC viability after incubation with G-1 was measured using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt (MTS) assay.GPER-1 mRNA is abundantly expressed in rat LC and human testis. Co-localization experiments showed high expression levels of GPER-1 protein in LC. E2-dependent activation of GPER-1 lowers testosterone production in isolated rats LCs and in human testis, with statistically and clinically significant drops in testosterone production by 20-30% as compared to estradiol-naïve LC. The exposure to G-1 does not affect viability of isolated LCs.Our results indicate that activation of GPER-1 lowers testosterone levels in the rat and human testis. The expression of GPER-1 in human testis, which lack ERα, makes it an exciting target for developing new agents affecting testosterone production in men.