Constitutional genetic variation at the human aromatase gene (Cyp19) and breast cancer risk.
The activity of the aromatase enzyme, which converts androgens into oestrogens and has a major role in regulating oestrogen levels in the breast, is thought to be a contributing factor in the development of breast cancer. We undertook this study to assess the role of constitutional genetic variation in the human aromatase gene (Cyp19) in the development of this disease. Our genotyping of 348 cases with breast cancer and 145 controls (all Caucasian women) for a published tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism at intron 4 of the Cyp19 gene revealed the presence of six common and two rare alleles. Contingency table analysis revealed a significant difference in allelic distribution between cases and controls (chi2 5df = 13.52, P = 0.019). The allele measuring 171 bp was over-represented in cases; of 14 individuals homozygous for this allele, 13 were cases. These individuals had a higher incidence of cancer in family members and an earlier age at diagnosis than other cases. In sequencing Cyp19's coding exons and regulatory regions, we discovered a perfect association between a silent polymorphism (G-->A at Val80) and the high-risk genotype. Our conclusion is that constitutional genetic variation at the Cyp19 locus is associated with the risk of developing breast cancer, with the 171-bp allele serving as the high-risk allele. (+info)
Endometriosis: a dysfunction and disease of the archimetra.
Endometriosis is considered primarily a disease of the endometrial-subendometrial unit or archimetra. The clinical picture of endometriosis characterises this disease as a hyperactivation of genuine archimetrial functions such as proliferation, inflammatory defence and peristalsis. While the aetiology of the disease remains to be elucidated, a key event appears to consist in the local production of extraovarian oestrogen by a pathological expression of the P450 aromatase. The starting event may consist in a hyperactivity of the endometrial inflammatory defence, a hyperactivity of the endometrial oxytocin/oxytocin receptor system or in the pathological expression of the P450 aromatase system itself. Regardless of which of these levels the starting event is localized in, they influence each other on both the level of the archimetra and the endometriotic lesions. Locally elevated oestrogen levels inevitably up-regulate the endometrial oxytocin mRNA and increased levels of oxytocin result in uterine hyperperistalsis, increased transtubal seeding of endometrial tissue fragments and finally subfertility and infertility by impairment of the uterine mechanism of rapid and sustained sperm transport. Locally increased levels of oestrogen lead, on both the level of the endometrial-subendometrial unit and the endometriotic lesion, to processes of hyperproliferation. These processes result, on the level of the uterus, in an infiltrative growth of elements of the archimetra into the neometra and, on the level of the endometriotic lesion, in infiltrative endometriosis. There is circumstantial evidence that trauma might be an important initial event that induces the specific biochemical and cellular responses of the archimetra. This model is able to explain both the pleiomorphic appearance of endometriosis and the, up until now, enigmatic infertility associated with mild and moderate endometriosis. (+info)
The aromatase inactivator 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A) inhibits tamoxifen metabolism by rat hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A: potential for drug-drug interaction of tamoxifen and 4-OH-A in combined anti-breast cancer therapy.
Tamoxifen (tam), an anti-breast cancer agent, is metabolized into tam-N-oxide by the hepatic flavin-containing monooxygenase and into N-desmethyl- and 4-hydroxy-tam by cytochrome P-450s (CYPs). Additionally, tam is metabolically activated by hepatic CYP3A, forming a reactive intermediate that binds covalently to proteins. Tam and 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A) are currently used to treat breast cancer, and it has been contemplated that 4-OH-A be given concurrently with tam to contravene potential tumor resistance to tam. Because alterations in tam metabolism may influence its therapeutic efficacy, the effect of 4-OH-A on tam metabolism was examined. Incubation of tam with liver microsomes from phenobarbital-treated rats, in the presence of 4-OH-A (10-100 microM), resulted in marked inhibition of tam-N-demethylation and tam covalent binding and in decreased tam-N-oxide accumulation; however, there was no inhibition of the formation of 4-hydroxy-tam and of 3,4-dihydroxytamoxifen. These findings indicate that 4-OH-A inhibits CYP3A, but not P-450(s) that catalyze tam 4-hydroxylation. The diminished tam-N-oxide accumulation could be due to decreased N-oxide formation and/or due to increased N-oxide reduction. Incubation of tam-N-oxide with liver microsomes containing heat-inactivated flavin-containing monooxygenase demonstrated that 4-OH-A increases the accumulation of tam, possibly by diminishing its P-450-mediated metabolism. Kinetic studies indicate that 4-OH-A is a competitive inhibitor of CYP3A, but not a time-dependent inactivator. Consequently, the concurrent treatment of tam and 4-OH-A may result in increased tam half-life and thus could potentiate the therapeutic efficacy of tam and diminish the potential side effects of tam by inhibiting its covalent binding to proteins and possibly to DNA. (+info)
The mechanism of action of epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor alpha on aromatase activity in granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries.
We investigated aromatization and the mechanism of action of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha) on oestradiol biosynthesis in freshly prepared granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries. Freshly prepared granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries incubated for only 3 h under basal conditions secreted significantly (P< 0.001) greater amounts of oestradiol-17beta than that of granulosa cells from normal ovaries. 8-Bromo-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (8-Br-cAMP), but not follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or luteinizing hormone (LH), further enhanced this activity. Both EGF and TGFalpha inhibited gonadotrophinor 8-Br-cAMP-stimulated, but not basal, oestradiol production. LH receptor (LHR) binding, estimated by immunolabelling the bound LH, was significantly (P< 0.001) reduced in granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries when compared with cells from normal ovaries. EGF or TGFalpha significantly reduced the binding in cultured cells from all patient groups (P< 0.05). More interestingly, a further increase of the inhibitory effect was seen in granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries (P < 0.001). In conclusion, granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries contain high levels of basal aromatase activity in vitro, which is probably inherited from the in-vivo condition. EGF and TGFalpha suppress oestradiol synthesis at a step beyond the production of cAMP and also LHR binding with more effect in granulosa cells from polycystic ovaries. (+info)
Effect of labor induction on the expression of oxytocin receptor, cytochrome P450 aromatase, and estradiol receptor in the reproductive tract of the late-pregnant ewe.
In this study, we investigated the timing of changes in aromatase, estradiol receptor, and oxytocin receptor expression in ovine uterine and placental tissues before parturition. Labor was induced by betamethasone injection into the fetus on Days 130-132 of pregnancy. Tissue samples were collected at injection and then every 14 h until labor (56 h) from four ewes at each time point. Samples were analyzed for aromatase, estradiol receptor, and oxytocin receptor expression by in situ hybridization; for oxytocin binding to its receptor using a specific antagonist; and for estradiol receptor quantitation by immunocytochemistry. Aromatase mRNA expression increased by 14 h postinjection (p < 0.02) in the fetal villi and remained high until labor. Expression of estradiol and oxytocin receptor mRNAs was unchanged in myometrium but increased in the endometrial luminal epithelium by 28 h (p < 0.05) and remained high until labor. Estradiol receptor protein concentration increased modestly at labor while oxytocin receptor binding in the luminal epithelium changed in parallel to the mRNA concentration. IN CONCLUSION: 1) induction of aromatase may facilitate the expression of endometrial estradiol and oxytocin receptors in the placentome, 2) changes in endometrial rather than myometrial oxytocin receptor may be important in inducing parturition, and 3) the transcription of estradiol receptor and oxytocin receptor in the uterine epithelium are positively correlated during parturition. (+info)
A 500-bp region, approximately 40 kb upstream of the human CYP19 (aromatase) gene, mediates placenta-specific expression in transgenic mice.
In humans, aromatase P450 (product of CYP19 gene), which catalyzes conversion of C19 steroids to estrogens, is expressed in a number of tissues, including ovary, adipose, and syncytiotrophoblast of the placenta. The 5' untranslated regions of CYP19 mRNA transcripts in these tissues are encoded by different tissue-specific first exons, which are spliced onto a common site just upstream of the translation initiation site in exon II. In placenta, the 5' untranslated region of CYP19 mRNA transcripts is encoded by exon I.1, which lies approximately 40 kb upstream of exon II. To map genomic sequences required for placenta-specific CYP19 expression, fusion genes containing 2,400 and 501 bp of placenta-specific exon I.1 5' flanking DNA linked to the human growth hormone gene (hGH), as reporter, were introduced into transgenic mice. Expression of CYP19(I.1):hGH fusion genes containing as little as 501 bp of 5' flanking DNA was placenta-specific and developmentally regulated. Furthermore, transgene expression occurred specifically in the labyrinthine trophoblast of the mouse placenta, which contains syncytial cells that may be analogous to the human syncytiotrophoblast. We show that a relatively small segment of DNA (approximately 500 bp) >40 kb upstream of the protein coding region of a human gene is able to direct expression in an appropriate tissue- and cell-specific manner in transgenic mice. These findings suggest that 5' flanking DNA within 501 bp of exon I.1 of the human CYP19 gene contains cis-acting elements that bind placenta-specific transcription factors that are conserved between humans and mice. (+info)
Intrafollicular content of luteinizing hormone receptor, alpha-inhibin, and aromatase in relation to follicular growth, estrous cycle stage, and oocyte competence for in vitro maturation in the mare.
The intrafollicular content of LH receptor, alpha-inhibin, and aromatase are known good indicators of follicular status. We investigated the amounts of these proteins in granulosa and cumulus cells in relation to oocyte competence for in vitro maturation, follicular growth, and estrous cycle stage in the mare. Follicular punctures were performed 34 h after an injection of crude equine gonadotropins, either during the follicular phase, at the end of the follicular phase, or during the luteal phase. The cumulus-oocyte complex, granulosa cells, and follicular fluid of follicles larger than 5 mm were collected. The nuclear stage of the oocytes after in vitro culture was determined microscopically. Granulosa and cumulus cell amounts of LH receptor, alpha-inhibin, and aromatase were assessed by the semiquantitative Western blot method and image analysis. Follicular fluids were assayed for progesterone (P4) and estradiol-17beta (E2). The three factors were expressed in mural granulosa and cumulus cells from all follicles from the gonadotropin-independent growth period until the preovulatory stage. Considering all the follicles punctured, the amounts of LH receptor and alpha-inhibin in granulosa cells were not different for the three physiological stages studied. The amounts of aromatase in granulosa cells, as well as the E2:P4 ratios, were higher for follicles punctured during the follicular phase than for the two other groups (p < 0.05). Considering the data from the three groups, the E2:P4 ratio and the LH receptor and aromatase contents, but not alpha-inhibin, in granulosa cells increased with an increase in follicular diameter (p < 0.01). The E2:P4 ratios and the amounts of LH receptor, alpha-inhibin, and aromatase in granulosa cells were lower in follicles 5-9 mm in diameter than in larger ones (p < 0.05). In cumulus cells, the amounts of the three factors were different neither between the three groups nor between the follicular diameters. Although we could not establish any obvious relationship to oocyte competence for in vitro maturation, the influence of the follicle diameter on the content of LH receptors, alpha-inhibin, and aromatase in granulosa cells was similar to the influence of follicle diameter on oocyte competence. Therefore, one can hypothesize that, in the mare, there is a link between the acquisition of oocyte competence and the expression of these factors in the follicular cells. (+info)
Dynamics of periovulatory steroidogenesis in the rhesus monkey follicle after ovarian stimulation.
The temporal relationships and regulation of events in the primate follicle during the periovulatory interval are poorly understood. This study was designed to elucidate the dynamics of steroid synthesis in the macaque follicle during ovarian stimulation cycles in which serum/follicular fluid aspirates were collected at precise intervals before (0 h) and after (up to 36 h) administration of the ovulatory human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) bolus. Serum concentrations of progesterone increased (P < 0.05) within 30 min, and follicular fluid progesterone concentrations were elevated 180-fold within 12 h, of HCG injection, and remained elevated until the time of ovulation. In contrast, 17beta-oestradiol concentrations increased initially, but then declined (P < 0.05) by 36 h post-HCG. Acute incubation of granulosa cells with and without steroidogenic substrates demonstrated that: (i) 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and aromatase activities were present in equivalent amounts before and after HCG; whereas (ii) P450 side-chain cleavage activity increased (P < 0.05) within 12 h of HCG; and (iii) exogenous low-density lipoprotein and cholesterol were not utilized for steroidogenesis. This model should be useful for further studies on ovulation and luteinization in primates, and enable elucidation of the local actions of progesterone and other steroids at specific time points during the periovulatory interval. (+info)