Switch from antagonist to agonist of the androgen receptor bicalutamide is associated with prostate tumour progression in a new model system.
Advanced prostate cancer is treated by androgen ablation and/or androgen receptor (AR) antagonists. In order to investigate the mechanisms relevant to the development of therapy-resistant tumours, we established a new tumour model which closely resembles the situation in patients who receive androgen ablation therapy. Androgen-sensitive LNCaP cells were kept in androgen-depleted medium for 87 passages. The new LNCaP cell subline established in this manner, LNCaP-abl, displayed a hypersensitive biphasic proliferative response to androgen until passage 75. Maximal proliferation of LNCaP-abl cells was achieved at 0.001 nM of the synthetic androgen methyltrienolone (R1881), whereas 0.01 nM of this compound induced the same effect in parental cells. At later passages (> 75), androgen exerted an inhibitory effect on growth of LNCaP-abl cells. The non-steroidal anti-androgen bicalutamide stimulated proliferation of LNCaP-abl cells. AR protein expression in LNCaP-abl cells increased approximately fourfold. The basal AR transcriptional activity was 30-fold higher in LNCaP-abl than in LNCaP cells. R1881 stimulated reporter gene activity in LNCaP-abl cells even at 0.01 nM, whereas 0.1 nM of R1881 was needed for induction of the same level of reporter gene activity in LNCaP cells. Bicalutamide that acts as a pure antagonist in parental LNCaP cells showed agonistic effects on AR transactivation activity in LNCaP-abl cells and was not able to block the effects of androgen in these cells. The non-steroidal AR blocker hydroxyflutamide exerted stimulatory effects on AR activity in both LNCaP and LNCaP-abl cells; however, the induction of reporter gene activity by hydroxyflutamide was 2.4- to 4-fold higher in the LNCaP-abl subline. The changes in AR activity were associated neither with a new alteration in AR cDNA sequence nor with amplification of the AR gene. Growth of LNCaP-abl xenografts in nude mice was stimulated by bicalutamide and repressed by testosterone. In conclusion, our results show for the first time that the nonsteroidal anti-androgen bicalutamide acquires agonistic properties during long-term androgen ablation. These findings may have repercussions on the natural course of prostate cancer with androgen deprivation and on strategies of therapeutic intervention. (+info
Inhibition of p160-mediated coactivation with increasing androgen receptor polyglutamine length.
Normal polymorphic size variation of the exon 1 CAG microsatellite of the androgen receptor (AR) is associated with prostate cancer, benign prostatic hyperplasia and male infertility. Furthermore, abnormal expansion of the satellite leads to Kennedy's disease. We have shown recently that the AR N-terminal domain (NTD), which contains the polyglutamine (polyQ) stretch (encoded by the CAG repeat), functionally interacts with the C-termini of p160 coactivators. In the present study we explored possible AR CAG size effects on the p160 coactivator-mediated transactivation activity of the receptor. First, we mapped the p160 coactivator interaction on the AR NTD and found an interaction surface between amino acids 351 and 537. Although this region is 'downstream' from the polyQ stretch, it is still within the AR NTD, is implicated in constitutive transactivation activity of the receptor, and thus might be subject to polyQ size modulation. Indeed, cotrans- fection experiments in cultured prostate epithelial cells, using AR constructs of varying CAG sizes and p160 coactivator expression vectors, revealed that increased polyQ length, up to a size of 42 repeats, inhibited both basal and coactivator-mediated AR transactivation activity. AR expression in these cells, on the other hand, was unaffected by the same increased CAG repeat size range. We conclude that the AR NTD contributes to AR transactivation activity via functional interactions with p160 coactivators and that increasing polyQ length negatively affects p160-mediated coactivation of the AR. This molecular mechanism thus might explain, at least in part, the observed phenotypic effects of the AR CAG size polymorphism. (+info
Acute impairment of relaxation by low levels of testosterone in porcine coronary arteries.
OBJECTIVES: While there are many suggested reasons for the marked gender bias in cardiovascular events, much of the available data indicate that circulating estrogens are cardioprotective. The possibility that endogenous androgens may be detrimental to the cardiovascular system has received relatively less attention. We investigated the short-term modulatory effects of various concentrations of testosterone on vascular function in isolated porcine coronary artery rings. RESULTS: The higher concentrations (> 1 microM) of testosterone relaxed U46619-contracted coronary artery rings in an endothelium-independent manner. This direct effect was insensitive to the testosterone receptor antagonists, flutamide and cyproterone acetate. Short-term exposure (20 min) to low levels of testosterone (1-100 nM), which were ineffective on their own on vascular function, significantly diminished relaxation to bradykinin and calcium ionophore A23187 but not those produced by levcromakalim and sodium nitroprusside. The inhibitory effect observed with 1 nM testosterone was only partially reversed by flutamide and cyproterone acetate and unaltered in the presence of actinomycin D and cycloheximide. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that acute treatment with testosterone, at concentrations that have no effect on their own, reduces vasorelaxation. Furthermore, they suggest that this modulatory action may be in part independent of the classical testosterone receptor since it was not completely sensitive to the anti-androgens and was not inhibited by the transcriptional and translational inhibitors. These findings support the postulation that testosterone may have unfavorable influences on vascular function. (+info
Differential effects of 17beta-estradiol and testosterone on the contractile responses of porcine coronary arteries.
1. We investigated the effects of short-term exposure to physiological levels of 17beta-estradiol and testosterone on vasocontractile responses in porcine coronary artery rings. 2. Concentration-response curves to endothelin-1, 5-hydroxytryptamine, the thromboxane analogue U46619 and KCl were constructed in endothelium-intact and endothelium-disrupted artery rings. 3. Thirty minutes exposure to 17beta-estradiol (1 and 30 nM) significantly attenuated vasoconstriction to endothelin-1, 5-hydroxytryptamine and U46619. Conversely, the same concentrations of testosterone significantly potentiated responses elicited by these contractile agents. These inhibitory effects of 17beta-estradiol and enhancing actions of testosterone on contractions were endothelium-independent. KCl-mediated contractions were unaffected by the presence of either sex hormones. 4. The oestrogen receptor antagonists, tamoxifen (10 microM) and ICI 182,780 (10 microM), were unable to reverse the inhibitory influence 1 nM 17beta-estradiol had on the agonist-mediated contractile responses. Similarly, the androgen receptor antagonists, flutamide (10 microM) and cyproterone acetate (10 microM), failed to affect the potentiating activities of 1 nM testosterone. The alteration in vasoconstrictive responses observed following acute exposure to either 1 nM 17beta-estradiol and 1 nM testosterone were apparent even in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide (10 microM) and the transcription inhibitor actinomycin D (10 microM). 6. In conclusion, we report a unique type of sex hormone action on the coronary vasculature. These events occur at low nanomolar concentrations of 17beta-estradiol and testosterone, are insensitive to conventional sex hormone receptor antagonists, are not blocked by de novo protein synthesis inhibitors and have rapid time-courses that are uncharacteristic of classical genomic activities. (+info
Specific recognition of androgens by their nuclear receptor. A structure-function study.
Androgens, like progestins, are 3-ketosteroids with structural differences restricted to the 17beta substituent in the steroid D-ring. To better understand the specific recognition of ligands by the human androgen receptor (hAR), a homology model of the ligand-binding domain (LBD) was constructed based on the progesterone receptor LBD crystal structure. Several mutants of residues potentially involved in the specific recognition of ligands in the hAR were constructed and tested for their ability to bind agonists. Their transactivation capacity in response to agonist (R1881) and antagonists (cyproterone acetate, hydroxyflutamide, and ICI 176344) was also measured. Substitution of His(874) by alanine, only marginally impairs the ligand-binding and transactivation capacity of the hAR receptor. In contrast, mutations of Thr(877) and, to a greater extent, Asn(705) perturb ligand recognition, alter transactivation efficiency, and broaden receptor specificity. Interestingly, the N705A mutant acquires progesterone receptor (PR) properties for agonist ligands but, unlike wild type AR and PR, loses the capacity to repress transactivation with nonsteroidal antagonists. Models of the hAR.LBD complexes with several ligands are presented, which suggests new directions for drug design. (+info
The RING finger protein SNURF modulates nuclear trafficking of the androgen receptor.
The androgen receptor (AR) is a transcription factor that mediates androgen action. We have used the green fluorescent protein (GFP) technique to investigate dynamics of nuclear trafficking of human AR in living cells. In the absence of ligand, the GFP-AR fusion protein is distributed between cytoplasm and nuclei. Androgen exposure leads to a rapid and complete import of GFP-AR to nuclei of CV-1 cells (>=90% nuclear in 30 minutes), whereas a pure antiandrogen, Casodex, elicits a slower (<40% nuclear in 30 minutes) and incomplete transfer. Unliganded ARs with mutations in the basic amino acids of the bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) within the second zinc finger and the hinge region are predominantly cytoplasmic and their androgen-dependent nuclear import is severely compromised ((3/4)20% nuclear in 30 minutes). Interestingly, substitutions of the Leu residues flanking the bipartite NLS lead to inefficient nuclear transfer in response to androgen ((3/4)20% nuclear in 30 minutes). The ligand-binding domain of AR, which represses bipartite NLS activity, contains an agonist-specific NLS. The small nuclear RING finger protein SNURF, which interacts with AR through a region overlapping with the bipartite NLS, facilitates AR import to nuclei and retards its export on hormone withdrawal. More AR is associated with the nuclear matrix in the presence than absence of coexpressed SNURF. We suggest that the SNURF-mediated tethering of AR in nuclei represents a novel mechanism for activating steroid receptor functions. (+info
Antiandrogenic effects of novel androgen synthesis inhibitors on hormone-dependent prostate cancer.
We have found that in addition to being potent inhibitors of 17alpha-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase and/or 5alpha-reductase, some of our novel androgen synthesis inhibitors also interact with the mutated androgen receptor (AR) expressed in LNCaP prostate cancer cells and the wild-type AR expressed in hormone-dependent prostatic carcinomas. The effects of these compounds on the proliferation of hormone-dependent human prostatic cancer cells were determined in vitro and in vivo. L-2 and L-10 are delta4-3-one-pregnane derivatives. L-35 and L-37 are delta5-3beta-ol-androstane derivatives, and L-36 and L-39 are delta4-3-one-androstane-derived compounds. L-2, L-10, and L-36 (L-36 at low concentrations) stimulated the growth of LNCaP cells, indicating that they were interacting agonistically with the mutated AR expressed in LNCaP cells. L-35, L-37, and L-39 acted as LNCaP AR antagonists. To determine whether the growth modulatory effects of our novel compounds were specific for the mutated LNCaP AR, competitive binding studies were performed with LNCaP cells and PC-3 cells stably transfected with the wild-type AR (designated PC-3AR). Regardless of AR receptor type, all of our novel compounds were effective at preventing binding of the synthetic androgen methyl-trienolone[17alpha-methyl-(3H)-R1881 to both the LNCaP AR and the wildtype AR. L-36, L-37, and L-39 (5.0 microM) prevented binding by >90%, whereas L-35 inhibited binding by 30%. To determine whether the compounds were acting as agonists or antagonists, LNCaP cells and PC-3AR cells were transfected with the pMAMneoLUC reporter gene. When luciferase activity was induced by dihydrotestosterone, all of the compounds were found to be potent inhibitors of transcriptional activity, and the pattern of inhibition was similar for both receptor types. However, L-2, L-10, and L-36 were determined to be AR agonists, and L-35, L-37, and L-39 were wild-type AR antagonists. When tested in vivo, L-39 was the only AR antagonist that proved to be effective at inhibiting the growth of LNCaP prostate tumor growth. L-39 slowed tumor growth rate in LNCaP tumors grown in male SCID mice to the same level as orchidectomy, significantly reduced tumor weights (P < 0.05), significantly lowered serum levels of prostate-specific antigen (P < 0.02), and significanty lowered serum levels of testosterone (P < 0.05). L-39 also proved to be effective when tested against the PC-82 prostate cancer xenograft that expresses wild-type AR. These results show that some of our compounds initially developed to be inhibitors of androgen synthesis also interact with the human AR and modulate the proliferation of hormone-dependent prostatic cancer cells. Therefore, compounds such as L-39, which have multifunctional activities, hold promise for the treatment of androgen-dependent prostate tumors. (+info
Androgen receptor antagonism by the organophosphate insecticide fenitrothion.
Organophosphate insecticides represent one of the most widely used classes of pesticides with high potential for human exposure in both rural and residential environments. We investigated the interaction of the organophosphothioate pesticide fenitrothion (O,O-dimethyl O-(4-nitro-m-tolyl) phosphorothioate) with the human androgen receptor (AR). Fenitrothion blocked dihydrotestosterone-dependent AR activity in a concentration-dependent and competitive manner in HepG2 human hepatoma liver cells transiently transfected with human AR and an AR-dependent luciferase reporter gene. Schild regression analysis yielded an equilibrium dissociation constant value of 2.18 x 10(-8) M. To determine the antiandrogenic potential of fenitrothion in vivo, 7-week-old castrated Sprague-Dawley rats were dosed once a day for 7 days with testosterone propionate (50 microg/day, sc) plus gavage doses of either corn oil vehicle or fenitrothion (15 or 30 mg/kg/day). An additional group of rats was given testosterone propionate and flutamide (50 mg/kg/day). Motor activity and acetylcholinesterase activity in whole blood and brain were also assessed. Both fenitrothion and the reference antiandrogen flutamide caused significant decreases in the ventral prostate, seminal vesicle, and levator ani plus bulbocavernosus muscles tissue weights. In contrast, blood acetylcholinesterase activity, a standard biomarker of organophosphate poisoning, was only inhibited at the higher dose of fenitrothion (30 mg/kg). Our results demonstrate that fenitrothion is a competitive AR antagonist, comparable in potency to the pharmaceutical antiandrogen flutamide and more potent, based on in vitro assays, than the known environmental antiandrogens linuron and p,p'-, 2,2-bis(p-hydroxyphenyl)-1,1-dichloroethylene ( p,p'-DDE). (+info