Developmental expression of cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage and cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase messenger ribonucleic acid and protein in the neonatal hamster ovary

J. R. Schwartz, Shyamal K Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The temporal and spatial expression of cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage (CYP11A1) and cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase (CYP17) mRNA and protein during thecal cell differentiation in developing hamster ovaries were evaluated by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunofluorescence histochemistry, respectively. Ovaries were collected from 15-day fetal through 20-day-old postnatal hamsters and used either for immunofluorescence detection of enzyme protein or RT-PCR evaluation of enzyme mRNA. Immunoreactivity of CYP11A1 first appeared in the interstitial cells on Day 10 postnatal (PN), and the intensity increased significantly with further ovarian development beyond 11 days of age. In contrast, CYP17 immunostaining was first detected in a few interstitial cells closer to large preantral follicles by Day 12 PN, and their number increased appreciably by Day 14 PN. By age 18-20 days, CYP17-positive cells were localized primarily in the thecal layer of large preantral follicles. A low level of CYP17 and CYP11A1 mRNA was present in fetal ovaries. The CYP17 mRNA levels increased sharply by Day 1 PN but decreased to a low baseline level by Day 2 PN and remained low up to Day 9 PN. Both CYP11A1 and CYP17 mRNA levels increased significantly by Day 10 PN compared to Day 9 PN; however, the increase for CYP11A1 was greater than CYP17. The CYP11A1 mRNA levels decreased noticeably on Day 11 PN and remained relatively stable until Day 14 PN; however, mRNA levels started increasing by Day 15 PN and increased sharply by Day 17 PN onward, corresponding to the increase in CYP11A1 protein in the ovarian interstitium and thecal compartments. On the other hand, CYP17 mRNA expression increased progressively through Day 12 PN. A sharp increase in CYP17 mRNA was noted on Day 13 PN in conjunction with the morphological development of thecal cells; mRNA levels remained steady afterward. The correlation of the increase in enzyme mRNA and protein, especially of CYP17, with the morphological development of thecal layers suggests that the differentiation of interstitial cells into theca may be modulated by multilayered preantral follicles, and the expression of enzyme protein occurs prior to an increase in serum LH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1586-1593
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 10 2000



  • Developmental biology
  • FSH
  • Follicle
  • Ovary
  • Theca cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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