Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 45, Number 4, July-August 2005
Page(s) 419 - 425
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 45 (2005) 419-425
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2005031

Testing the antagonistic effect of follistatin on BMP family members in ovine granulosa cells

Alice Pierre, Claudine Pisselet, Philippe Monget, Danielle Monniaux and Stéphane Fabre

INRA, Physiologie de la Reproduction et des Comportements, UMR 6175 INRA-CNRS-Université de Tours-Haras Nationaux, 37380 Nouzilly, France

(Received 29 April 2004; accepted 8 March 2005)

Abstract - Follistatin was first demonstrated as an activin-binding protein, neutralizing its actions. However, there is emerging evidence that follistatin inhibits the action of other members of the transforming growth factor ß (TGFß) / bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) superfamily. Recently, numerous BMP factors have been shown to play important roles in regulating folliculogenesis and ovulation rate in mammals, and such a potential antagonistic role of follistatin is of particular interest in the context of ovarian function. Using a biological test based on progesterone production by ovine primary granulosa cells in culture, we show that follistatin was a strong antagonist of activin A, but not BMP-2 or BMP-4 actions. In contrast, noggin, a known specific BMP antagonist, had no effect on activin A but strongly neutralized BMP-2 and BMP-4 actions. BMP-6 action was only slightly reduced by both follistatin and noggin. Our data led to the conclusion that follistatin would not represent a determinant physiological modulator of the biological effect of BMP factors on granulosa cells.

Key words: ovary / granulosa cells / follistatin / noggin / bone morphogenetic protein

Corresponding author: Stéphane Fabre

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005