Our goal was to examine the effect of deficiency of the lipoprotein receptor, scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), on progesterone secretion in human granulosa cells (HGL5). Scrambled or SR-BI small interfering RNA [knockdown (KD)] cells were exposed to dimethylsulfoxide [DMSO, vehicle for forskolin (Fo)], Fo, serum, high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or Fo plus lipoproteins or serum for 24 h. Progesterone secretion was lower in all of the SR-BI KD cells regardless of treatment. We examined progesterone secretion in SR-BI KD, LDL receptor KD, and double KD cells incubated with DMSO, Fo, LDL, or Fo + LDL for 6-24 h. As compared with scrambled cells, progesterone secretion was lower in SR-BI and double KD cells regardless of treatment; whereas progesterone secretion was only lower in LDL receptor KD cells incubated with LDL and Fo + LDL. We measured phosphorylation of hormone-sensitive lipase (pHSL) expression, intracellular total cholesterol (TC) mass, and progesterone secretion in scrambled and SR-BI KD cells incubated with DMSO or Fo for 2-24 h. The expression of pHSL was similar between the cells and conditions. The mean change in TC mass and progesterone secretion was lower in SR-BI KD cells exposed to DMSO and Fo. Incubating SR-BI KD cells with 22-hydroxy cholesterol did not overcome the reduction in progesterone secretion. At different time points, RNA expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, side-chain cleavage, and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase was significantly lower in SR-BI KD cells incubated with Fo. In conclusion, SR-BI protein deficiency, in part, might explain progesterone deficiency in some infertile women.
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