T3 plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. In this study, we show the interactive effects of T3 and androgens on the growth response and expression of the prostate-specific genes, PSA (prostate-specific antigen) and hK2 (human glandular kallikrein), in the human prostate cancer cell line, LNCaP. T3 alone showed pronounced growth enhancement in a dose-dependent fashion. However, in the presence of androgens, higher concentrations of T3 were required to produce additional proliferative effects. T3, androgens, or a combination of the two up- regulated PSA protein production in a dose-dependent fashion, but T3 had little stimulator effect on hK2 protein expression, regardless of the presence or absence of androgens. Using gene transfer assays, T3 alone showed no effect on transcriptional activation of a reporter gene mediated by the PSA or hK2 enhancer/promoters. T3 potentiated the androgen-mediated transcription of the PSA gene but not that of the hK2 gene. A previous study suggested that the T3 effect on PSA protein expression was caused by an up- regulation of the androgen receptor (AR) protein by T3. Our results contradict these. Although AR expression was increased by T3 alone, Western blot analysis showed that the total cellular AR level was not further increased by T3 in the presence of androgens, in comparisons with cells stimulated by androgens alone. Both Western blot analysis and a gel DNA band shift assay revealed that nuclear AR was not increased by T3. This study suggests that transcription factor(s) other than the AR may mediate T3 enhancement of androgenic induction of PSA expression.
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