Multifaceted epigenetic regulation of porcine testicular aromatase

Trish Berger, Jens Vanselow, Alan Conley, Tana Jo Almand, Barbara S. Nitta-Oda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Testicular aromatase catalyzes the synthesis of estradiol, which contributes to regulation of porcine Sertoli cell proliferation and postpubertal maintenance of Sertoli cell numbers. Although aromatase enzymatic activity decreases with age and is persistently reprogrammed by prepubertal treatment with the aromatase inhibitor letrozole, the molecular bases for regulation have not been identified. DNA methylation was examined as a potential regulatory mechanism using DNA from Leydig cells isolated from 16-, 40-, and 68-week-old boars and from 68- week-old littermates treated with the aromatase inhibitor, letrozole. Methylation levels of individual CpG dinucleotides located in the distal untranslated exon 1 of the relevant aromatase encoding gene, CYP19A3, were quite high in Leydig cell DNA, and increased further with maturity of boar (P < 0.05), while aromatase activity and transcript abundance decreased more than two-fold. However, reduced aromatase activity following letrozole treatment was not accompanied by altered DNA methylation. Testicular expression of miR378 was altered by prepubertal treatment with letrozole. The data provide evidence for two different epigenetic mechanisms that regulate aromatase expression and enzymatic activity in the boar testis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111526
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Feb 5 2022


  • Aromatase regulation
  • Boar testis
  • Estradiol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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