Effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on steroidogenesis and cellular development in PCOS rats
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder, which is characterized by hyperandrogenism. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are necessary for the body's metabolism, growth and development. Despite the well-known benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation on the modulation of PCOS ovarian function, relatively little is known about the precise regulation mechanism. The objective of this study was to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which omega-3 regulates CYP51 expression and steroid biosynthesis during follicle growth in PCOS. The results indicated that the CYP51 expression was up-regulated in granulosa cells by omega-3. Moreover, the knockdown of CYP51 blocked omega-3 induced estradiol (E2) and progesterone (P4) synthesis as well as cellular viability and proliferation. These changes were accompanied by the up-regulation of the p-Akt level. Furthermore, the PI3K/Akt pathway was required for the regulation of CYP51 expression, steroidogenesis and cell development by omega-3 in PCOS granulosa cells. Our data demonstrate that omega-3 potentiates the cellular development and steroid biosynthesis via CYP51 up-regulation in PCOS, which are mediated through the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway.