Phoenixin (PNX) is a newly discovered peptide produced by proteolytic cleavage of a small integral membrane protein 20 (Smim20), which acts as an important regulator of energy homeostasis and reproduction. Since dysfunction of reproduction is characteristic in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the role of PNX in pathogenesis of PCOS needs further investigation. The objective of this study was to determine expression of Smim20, PNX-14 and its receptor GRP173 in the hypothalamus, ovary and periovarian adipose tissue (PAT) of letrozole induced PCOS rats. Phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2), protein kinases A (PKA) and B (Akt) were also estimated. We observed that PCOS rats had high weight gain and a number of ovarian cyst, high levels of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and PNX-14, while low estradiol. Smim20 mRNA expression was higher in the ovary and PAT, while PNX-14 peptide production was higher only in the ovary of PCOS rat. Moreover, in PCOS rats Gpr173 level was lower in PAT but at the protein level increased only in the ovary. Depending on the tissues, kinases phosphorylation were significantly differ in PCOS rats. Our results showed higher levels of PNX-14 in PCOS rats and indicated some novel findings regarding the mechanisms of PCOS pathophysiology.
Keywords: Adipose tissue Hypothalamus Ovary Phoenixin-14 Polycystic ovary syndrome