T-2 toxin regulates steroid hormone secretion of rat ovarian granulosa cells through cAMP-PKA pathway. Academic Article uri icon


  • T-2 toxin is a secondary metabolite produced by Fusarium genus and is a common contaminant in food and feedstuffs of cereal origin. In porcine granulosa cells(GC), T-2 toxin has been shown to inhibit the steroidogenesis; however, the mechanism has not been well understood. Gonadotropin-stimulated steroidogenesis is regulated by the cAMP-PKA pathway. In this study, we investigated potential mechanisms for T-2 toxin-induced reproductive toxicity focusing on the critical steps of the cAMP-PKA pathway affected by T-2 toxin. We first analyzed the effects of T-2 toxin on progesterone and estrogen production in rat granulosa cells. For this purpose the granulosa cells were cultured for 48 h in 10% fetal bovine serum-containing medium followed by 24h in serum-free medium containing FSH (10 ng/ml) and androstenedione (3 ng/ml), both are required for normal steroidogenesis. Treatment of these cells with T-2 toxin dose-dependently inhibited the growth of cells and the steroid hormone production. Cellular cyclic AMP levels were dose-dependently inhibited by T-2 toxin (0, 1, 10 and 100 nM, 24 h). Furthermore, we found that although the induction of progesterone by 8-Br-cAMP (a FSH mimetic) and 22R-HC (substrate for progesterone) could both be inhibited by T-2 toxin treatment, the T-2-imposed inhibitory effects could be reversed by increasing doses of 22R-HC, while increasing 8-Br-cAMP had no effects, suggesting that T2 toxin targeted at distinct mechanisms. cAMP-stimulated steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) is a rate limiting protein in progesterone synthesis. Exposure to T2 toxin caused significant suppression of StAR expression as determined by Western blotting and semi-quantitative RT-PCR suggesting StAR is a sensitive target for T-2 toxin. Taken together, our results strongly suggest that T2 toxin inhibits steroidogenesis by suppressing cAMP-PKA pathway and StAR is a target for T-2-toxin. The antisteroidogenesis effects were observable at low T-2 dose (1 ng/ml) suggesting T-2 toxin has an endocrine disruptive effect.

published proceedings

  • Toxicol Lett

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, J., Tu, D. i., Yuan, L., Yi, J., & Tian, Y.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Jing||Tu, Di||Yuan, Li-Yun||Yi, Jin-e||Tian, Yanan

publication date

  • January 2015