The liver X receptors and sterol regulatory element binding proteins alter progesterone secretion and are regulated by human chorionic gonadotropin in human luteinized granulosa cells

Yafei Xu, José J. Hernández-Ledezma, Scot M. Hutchison, Randy Lloyd Bogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


There is increased expression of liver x receptor (LXR) target genes and reduced low density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) during spontaneous luteolysis in primates. The LXRs are nuclear receptors that increase cholesterol efflux by inducing transcription of their target genes. Transcription of LDLR is regulated by sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs). Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) prevents luteolysis and stimulates progesterone synthesis via protein kinase A (PKA). Thus, our primary objectives are: 1) Determine the effects of LXR activation and SREBP inhibition on progesterone secretion and cholesterol metabolism, and 2) Determine whether hCG signaling via PKA regulates transcription of LXR and SREBP target genes in human luteinized granulosa cells. Basal and hCG-stimulated progesterone secretion was significantly decreased by the combined actions of the LXR agonist T0901317 and the SREBP inhibitor fatostatin, which was associated with reduced intracellular cholesterol storage. Expression of LXR target genes in the presence of T0901317 was significantly reduced by hCG, while hCG promoted transcriptional changes that favor LDL uptake. These effects of hCG were reversed by a specific PKA inhibitor. A third objective was to resolve a dilemma concerning LXR regulation of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR) expression in primate and non-primate steroidogenic cells. T0901317 induced STAR expression and progesterone synthesis in ovine, but not human cells, revealing a key difference between species in LXR regulation of luteal function. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that LXR-induced cholesterol efflux and reduced LDL uptake via SREBP inhibition mediates luteolysis in primates, which is prevented by hCG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Human chorionic gonadotropin
  • Liver x receptor
  • Progesterone
  • Protein kinase A
  • Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein
  • Sterol regulatory element binding protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology

Cite this