Unlike mammals, teleost fish have high aromatase activity (AA) in the pituitary. However, the cells responsible for oestradiol synthesis and the local physiological roles of this hormone remain unclear. Hence, we investigated the effects of age and development on steroidogenic activity, mRNA expression, and cyp19a1b localization in the pituitary gland of the Japanese pufferfish Takifugu rubripes. Under aquaculture conditions, AA was highest after puberty, and the mRNA expression levels of cyp19a1b and the oestrogen receptors esr1 and 2b and the level of serum testosterone (T) were significantly increased after puberty compared with the other developmental stages in male and female pufferfish. Immunohistochemistry using multiple antibodies and in situ hybridization analysis revealed that Cyp19a1b colocalizes with luteinizing hormone (LH) in pituitary cells. Furthermore, Esr1 was localized in the nuclei of all hormone-producing cells, whereas Esr2b was localized only in the nuclei of Cyp19- and LH-positive cells. The administration of an aromatizable androgen (T) or oestrogen (E2) to reproductively inactive females induced LH synthesis in vivo. We prepared spheroids from pituitary cells to investigate the role of local E2 in LH synthesis in vitro. Immunohistochemical analysis of spheroids showed that T-induced LH synthesis could be blocked by an aromatase inhibitor and/or an ER antagonist but not an AR antagonist. Taken together, these findings suggest that LH synthesis is initiated in cyp19a1b-, esr1-, and esr2b-expressing cells at the onset of puberty under the control of steroidal feedback, and both feedback and local oestrogen may be involved in controlling LH synthesis in these cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology