The β1-subunit of Na+,K+-ATPase was isolated and identified as an androgen down-regulated gene. Expression was observed at high levels in androgen-independent as compared to androgen-dependent (responsive) human prostate cancer cell lines and xenografts when grown in the presence of androgens. Down-regulation of the β1-subunit was initiated at concentrations between 0.01 nM and 0.03 nM of the synthetic androgen R1881 after relatively long incubation times (> 24 h). Using polyclonal antibodies, the concentration of β1-subunit protein, but not of the α1-subunit protein, was markedly reduced in androgen-dependent human prostate cancer cells (LNCaP-FGC) cultured in the presence of androgens. In line with these observations it was found that the protein expression of total Na+,K+-ATPase in the membrane (measured by 3H-ouabain binding) was also markedly decreased. The main function of Na+,K+-ATPase is to maintain sodium and potassium homeostasis in animal cells. The resulting electrochemical gradient is facilitative for transport of several compounds over the cell membrane (for example cisplatin, a chemotherapeutic agent experimentally used in the treatment of hormone-refractory prostate cancer). Here we observed that a ouabain-induced decrease of Na+,K+-ATPase activity in LNCaP-FGC cells results in reduced sensitivity of these cells to cisplatin-treatment. Surprisingly androgen-induced decrease of Na+,K+-ATPase expression, did not result in significant protection against the chemotherapeutic agent.

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British Journal of Cancer
Department of Reproduction and Development

Blok, L., Chang, G. T. G., Steenbeek-Slotboom, M., van Weerden, W., Swarts, H. G., de Pont, J. J. H. H. M., … Brinkmann, A. (1999). Regulation of expression of Na+,K+-ATPase in androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer. British Journal of Cancer, 81(1), 28–36. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6690647