Modulating effect of leptin on basal and follicle stimulating hormone stimulated steroidogenesis in cultured human lutein granulosa cells

J Endocrinol Invest. 2009 May;32(5):415-9. doi: 10.1007/BF03346478.


Background: In vitro data have shown conflicting results in terms of the effect of leptin on granulosa cells steroidogenesis.

Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of low and high doses of leptin on basal and FSH-induced steroids secretion by human luteinized granulosa cells in culture.

Materials and methods: Granulosa cells were obtained from normal women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and were cultured in serum-free conditions for 72 h. A one-way analysis of variance design was set to study the effect of leptin on basal and FSH-induced steroidogenesis.

Results: Leptin affected basal estradiol and progesterone secretion in a dose-related manner. In particular, leptin at low concentrations stimulated the secretion of estradiol (1 and 10 ng/ml) and progesterone (10 ng/ml), while at a high concentration (100 ng/ml) it suppressed the secretion of both steroids. A dose-related effect of leptin on FSH-induced steroidogenesis was not evident, since only the suppressive effect of the high concentration of leptin (100 ng/ml) reached statistical significance for both steroids.

Conclusions: These results demonstrate that leptin affects the secretion of steroids in luteinized granulosa cells in a dose-dependent manner. Although a physiological role for leptin is possible, it is suggested that this protein is a mediator of negative rather than positive influential interactions on ovarian function that may compromise fertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Combinations
  • Estradiol / biosynthesis
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fertility / drug effects
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Leptin / administration & dosage
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Luteal Cells / drug effects*
  • Luteal Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Progesterone / biosynthesis
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Steroids / biosynthesis*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Drug Combinations
  • Leptin
  • Steroids
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone