Effect of glucocorticoids pretreatment on steroidogenic capacity of adrenocortical cells isolated from Meishan piglets
The present in vitro experiment was designed to test whether 48 h of pretreatment with glucocorticoids, cortisol, or dexamethasone (DEX), would affect basal and corticotrophin (ACTH) stimulated (24 h) cortisol secretion from primary cultures of pig adrenocortical cells. Cells were divided into six groups: control pretreatment with or without ACTH challenge, cortisol pretreatment with or without ACTH challenge, and DEX pretreatment with or without ACTH. The culture medium and cells were collected at the end of treatment. Cortisol concentration in medium was measured by radioimmunoassay, and protein content of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and key regulatory factors for steroidogenesis, including melanocortin type 2 receptor (MC2R), steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (P450scc), were detected by Western blot analysis. The results showed that glucocorticoid pretreatment did not affect cortisol secretion under basal condition without ACTH challenge, but significantly enhanced ACTH-stimulated cortisol secretion. Furthermore, the protein content of GR, MC2R, StAR, and P450scc was all increased in groups pretreated with glucocorticoids. These results indicate that adrenocortical cells pretreated with glucocorticoids display higher steroidogenic capacity under ACTH challenge, through the upregulation of GR and other steroidogenic regulatory factors.