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Scavenger receptor class B type I in the rat ovary: possible role in high density lipoprotein cholesterol uptake and in the recognition of apoptotic granulosa cells.

Journal article
Authors Per-Arne Svensson
M S Johnson
C Ling
L M Carlsson
H Billig
B Carlsson
Published in Endocrinology
Volume 140
Issue 6
Pages 2494-500
ISSN 0013-7227
Publication year 1999
Published at Institute of Internal Medicine, Dept of Medicine
Pages 2494-500
Language en
Keywords Animals, Antigens, CD36, Apoptosis, COS Cells, Cholesterol, HDL, metabolism, Female, Granulosa Cells, pathology, Membrane Proteins, Ovary, physiology, Protein Isoforms, analysis, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Receptors, Immunologic, analysis, genetics, physiology, Receptors, Lipoprotein, Receptors, Scavenger, Scavenger Receptors, Class B
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) mediates the selective uptake of high density lipoprotein cholesterol. SR-BI is expressed at high levels in the ovary, indicating that it plays a role in the delivery of cholesterol as substrate for steroid hormone production. However, SR-BI also binds anionic phospholipids with high affinity and could therefore be involved in the recognition of apoptotic cells. In this study we have characterized the expression of SR-BI in rat ovarian follicles undergoing atresia. Atretic follicles with cells undergoing apoptosis were identified by in situ DNA end labeling, and SR-BI expression was determined by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. SR-BI was expressed in thecal cells at all stages of follicular development, including atretic follicles, and in corpus luteum. Isolated apoptotic granulosa cells (but not viable granulosa cells) bound annexin V, indicating that they display anionic phospholipids on the cell surface. Transfection of COS-7 cells with an expression vector carrying the rat SR-BI complementary DNA resulted in increased binding to apoptotic granulosa cells (46 +/- 2% of the SR-BI-expressing cells bound at least one granulosa cell compared with 24 +/- 3% for the mock-transfected cells; P < 0.0001), whereas the binding to viable granulosa cells was unchanged. Apoptotic granulosa cells also bound to isolated thecal shells. We conclude that thecal cells of both nonatretic and atretic follicles express SR-BI. The location of SR-BI expression in the ovary supports a role of this receptor in the uptake of high density lipoprotein cholesterol. In addition, our data suggest that SR-BI mediates the recognition of apoptotic granulosa cells by the surrounding thecal cells and that it therefore may play a role in the remodeling of atretic follicles to secondary interstitial cells.

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