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      Homologous Up-Regulation of Androgen Receptor Expression by Androgen in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

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          Objective: Androgens play an important role in the arterial vascular system, and androgen receptors (AR) have been identified in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). This study examined the effects of testosterone exposure on AR gene expression in cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells. Methods: Changes in AR protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels after androgen exposure were determined using immunoblotting and Northern blotting analysis respectively. Results: Treatment of synchronized VSMCs with testosterone increased both cytoplasmic and nuclear AR protein expression in a dose- and time-dependent fashion, whereas exposure of VSMCs to androgen for 10 min induced a transient down-regulation of AR protein. Meanwhile, AR mRNA level was also up-regulated, but to a much smaller extent. Pretreatment with transcription inhibitor and translation inhibitor repressed cytoplasmic AR protein levels to 46 and 12% (means) of the androgen treatment control level respectively. Furthermore, androgen up-regulation of intracellular AR protein was partially inhibited by androgen antagonist. Conclusions: Androgen increases AR expression in VSMCs at the level of both transcription and non-transcription.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Single-step method of RNA isolation by acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform extraction.

          A new method of total RNA isolation by a single extraction with an acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform mixture is described. The method provides a pure preparation of undegraded RNA in high yield and can be completed within 4 h. It is particularly useful for processing large numbers of samples and for isolation of RNA from minute quantities of cells or tissue samples.
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            Steroid receptor family: structure and functions.

            Steroid receptors are a class of molecules that function as both signal transducers and transcription factors. From cloned sequences it is apparent that steroid receptors and other transcription factors belong to a superfamily of proteins that appear to function by similar mechanisms. Functional domains for hormone and DNA binding, and for transcriptional activation, have been defined for several receptors. In some cases, specific amino acids required for function have been identified. The multi-functional steroid receptor molecules are modular in nature in that domains function independently of structural position in receptor molecules and can even function after insertion into unrelated transactivation proteins. The mechanism of receptor action is complex and multistage and a number of unanswered questions remain to be defined. Receptors are inactive in the absence of hormone in vivo; the proposed components of this inactive complex include several proteins and RNA. Theories on the physiological role of HSP 90 in this complex range from an artifactual interaction to an absolute conformational requirement for hormone binding. Although its function has not been demonstrated clearly yet, there is a consensus that one major function is to inactivate receptor by blocking DNA binding. Most of the steroid receptors appear to be nuclear in the absence of hormone. The transformation process produces a receptor molecule that is capable of specific DNA binding and transcriptional activation. The specificity of DNA binding is conferred by as few as three amino acids in the first finger of the C1 region. Receptors appear to bind to DNA as dimers although whether dimers are preformed in cytoplasm remains unknown. Although the DNA binding domain is required for gene activation, other regions of the molecule in the carboxyl and amino terminus enhance activation function. Important interactions of steroid receptors with other receptors and unrelated transcription factors has been proposed and most certainly occurs. Finally, posttranslational modifications such as phosphorylation have been postulated to modulate several functional properties of steroid receptors.
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              Androgen receptors, 5 alpha-reductase activity and androgen-dependent proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells.

              To assess the direct effect of androgen on the development of atherosclerosis, we investigated the effect of androgen and its receptor expression in rat vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) isolated from rat aorta. We detected the androgen receptor mRNA in VSMC by reverse transcription of the total RNA coupled with amplification of the resulting cDNA by polymerase chain reaction. Binding studies revealed the presence of a single class of binding sites for testosterone (Kd 7.37 nM, Bmax 10.59 fmol/mg protein) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT; Kd 4.89 nM, Bmax 11.37 fmol/mg protein) in VSMC. Measurement of 5 alpha-reductase activity suggested that testosterone is converted to DHT in VSMC (Km 0.36 microM, Vmax 623 fmol/mg protein/h). Moreover, in the present study, DHT significantly stimulated DNA synthesis of VSMC (120-160% of control). The mitogenic activity of testosterone is much less potent than that of DHT. Considering these results, we concluded that androgen may directly accelerate atherosclerosis by stimulating the proliferation of VSMC.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                January 2005
                20 January 2005
                : 63
                : 1
                : 6-14
                aDepartment of Cardiology, Nanfang Hospital, Guangzhou, and bState Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China
                82339 Horm Res 2005;63:6–14
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, References: 40, Pages: 9
                Original Paper


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