It has been established that two developmentally and functionally distinct cell types emerge within the mammalian testis and adrenal gland throughout life. Fetal and adult types of steroidogenic cells (i.e., testicular Leydig cells and adrenocortical cells) develop in the prenatal and postnatal period, respectively. Although the ovary synthesizes steroids postnatally, the presence of fetal-type steroidogenic cells has not been described. We had previously established transgenic mouse lines in which fetal Leydig cells were labeled with an EGFP reporter gene by the FLE (fetal Leydig enhancer) of the Ad4BP/SF-1 (Nr5a1) gene. In the present study, we examined the reporter gene expression in females and found that the reporter gene is turned on in postnatal ovaries. A comparison of the expressions of the EGFP and marker genes revealed that EGFP is expressed in not all but rather a proportion of steroidogenic theca and in interstitial gland cells in the ovary. This finding was further supported by experiments using BAC transgenic mice in which reporter gene expression recapitulated endogenous Ad4BP/SF-1 gene expression. In conclusion, our observations from this study strongly suggest that ovarian theca and interstitial gland cells in mice consist of at least two cell types.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)