SREBP Plays a Regulatory Role in LH/hCG Receptor mRNA Expression in Human Granulosa-Lutein Cells

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Oct 1;104(10):4783-4792. doi: 10.1210/jc.2019-00913.


Context: LH receptor (LHR) expression has been shown to be regulated posttranscriptionally by LHR mRNA binding protein (LRBP) in rodent and human ovaries. LRBP was characterized as mevalonate kinase. The gene that encodes mevalonate kinase is a member of a family of genes that encode enzymes involved in lipid synthesis and are regulated by the transcription factor sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs).

Objective: The current study examined the regulation of LHR mRNA expression in human granulosa-lutein cells in response to alterations in cholesterol metabolism.

Design: Using atorvastatin, an inhibitor of 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase to inhibit cholesterol biosynthesis, we examined its effect on LHR mRNA expression. The effect of atorvastatin on SREBP and mRNA expression as well as LHR mRNA binding protein expression was examined. Finally, the effect of atorvastatin on human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)-stimulated progesterone production and the expression of key steroidogenic enzymes was also examined.

Results: Statin treatment reduced LHR mRNA expression by increasing the levels of SREBP1a and SREBP2, leading to an increase in LRBP. RNA gel shift assay showed that increased binding of LHR mRNA to LRBP occurred in response to atorvastatin, leading to LHR mRNA degradation. The granulosa-lutein cells pretreated with atorvastatin also showed decreased responsiveness to hCG by decreasing the mRNA and protein expression of steroidogenic enzymes. Atorvastatin also attenuated LH/hCG-induced progesterone production.

Conclusion: These results imply that LHR mRNA expression by the human granulosa-lutein cells is regulated by cholesterol, through a mechanism involving SREBP and SREBP cleavage activating protein serving as the cholesterol sensor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Atorvastatin / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Luteal Cells / drug effects
  • Luteal Cells / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, LH / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1 / physiology
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 2 / genetics
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 2 / physiology
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, LH
  • SREBF2 protein, human
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 1
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein 2
  • Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Proteins
  • Atorvastatin