Regulation of androgen receptor (AR) mRNA expression was studied in Sertoli cells and peritubular myoid cells isolated from immature rat testis, and in the lymph node carcinoma cell line derived from a human prostate (LNCaP). Addition of dibutyryl-cyclic AMP (dbcAMP) to Sertoli cell cultures resulted in a rapid transient decrease in AR mRNA expression (5 h), which was followed by a gradual increase in AR mRNA expression (24-72 h). This effect of dbcAMP mimicked follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) action. In peritubular myoid cells, there was only a moderate but prolonged decrease during incubation in the presence of dbcAMP, and in LNCaP cells no effect of dbcAMP on AR mRNA expression was observed. When Sertoli cells or peritubular myoid cells were cultured in the presence of androgens, AR mRNA expression in these cell types did not change. This is in contrast to LNCaP cells, that showed a marked reduction of AR mRNA expression during androgen treatment. In the present experiments, transcriptional regulation of AR gene expression in Sertoli cells and LNCaP cells was also examined. Freshly isolated Sertoli cell clusters were transfected with a series of luciferase reporter gene constructs, driven by the AR promoter. It was found that addition of dbcAMP to the transfected Sertoli cells resulted in a small but consistent increase in reporter gene expression (which was interpreted as resulting from AR promoter activity); a construct that only contained the AR 5' untranslated region of the cDNA sequence did not show such a regulation. The same constructs, transfected into LNCaP cells, did not show any transcriptional down-regulation when the synthetic androgen R1881 was added to the cell cultures. A nuclear transcription elongation experiment (run-on), however, demonstrated that androgen-induced AR mRNA down-regulation in LNCaP cells resulted from an inhibition of AR gene transcription. The present results indicate that in Sertoli cells and LNCaP cells, hormonal effects on AR gene transcription play a role in regulation of AR expression. However, AR gene transcription in these cells is differentially regulated.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Winter, J., Vanderstichele, H., Timmermans, M., Blok, L., Themmen, A., & de Jong, F. (1993). Activin is produced by rat Sertoli cells in vitro and can act as an autocrine regulator of Sertoli cell function. Endocrinology. Retrieved from