ABSTRACT: Follicular atresia is common in female mammalian ovaries, where most follicles undergo degeneration at any stage of growth and development. Oxidative stress gives rise to triggering granulosa cell apoptosis, which has been suggested as a major cause of follicular atresia. However, the underlying mechanism by which the oxidative stress induces follicular atresia remains unclear. FoxO transcription factors are known as critical mediators in the regulation of oxidative stress and apoptosis. In this study, the involvement of FoxO1 in oxidative stress-induced apoptosis of mouse follicular granulosa cells (MGCs) was investigated in vivo and in vitro. It was observed that increased apoptotic signals correlated with elevated expression of FoxO1 in MGCs when mice were treated with the oxidant. Correspondingly, the expressions of FoxO1 target genes, such as proapoptotic genes and antioxidative genes, were also up-regulated. In primary cultured MGCs, treatment with H(2)O(2) led to FoxO1 nuclear translocation. Further studies with overexpression and knockdown of FoxO1 demonstrated the critical role of FoxO1 in the induction of MGC apoptosis by oxidative stress. Finally, inactivation of FoxO1 by insulin treatment confirmed that FoxO1 induced by oxidative stress played a pivotal role in up-regulating the expression of downstream apoptosis-related genes in MGCs. Our results suggest that up-regulation of FoxO1 by oxidative stress leads to apoptosis of granulosa cells, which eventually results in follicular atresia in mice.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2012; 287(31):25727-40. · 4.77 Impact Factor