Pituitary gonadotroph estrogen receptor-α is necessary for fertility in females

Mary C. Gieske, Joon Kim Hyun, Sandra J. Legan, Yongbum Koo, Andree Krust, Pierre Chambon, Che Myong Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Estrogens play a central role in regulating female reproduction throughout the reproductive axis, and the pituitary is one of the major targets of estrogen action. We hypothesized that estrogen receptor α (ERα) mediates estrogen action in the pituitary gonadotroph. To test this hypothesis, we generated a mouse line with a selective ERα deletion in the gonadotropin α-subunit (αGSU)-expressing pituitary cells (pituitary-specific ERα knockout; ERαflox/flox αGSUcre). Although the ERαflox/flox αGSUcre female mice maintain a basal level of serum LH and FSH and their ovulatory capacity is comparable to that in controls, they do not display regular estrous cycles and are infertile, indicating a potential disorder in regulating LH and/or FSH secretion. The ERαflox/flox αGSUcre female mice express equivalent levels of LHβ and αGSU mRNA compared with wild-type mice as determined by microarray analysis. Taken together, these findings indicate that pituitary gonadotroph ERα carries out the effects of estrogens with regard to estrous cyclicity and ultimately fertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
JournalEndocrinology
Volume149
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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