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Mol Endocrinol. 2000 Feb;14(2):307-16.

Prolactin enhances CCAAT enhancer-binding protein-beta (C/EBP beta) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR gamma) messenger RNA expression and stimulates adipogenic conversion of NIH-3T3 cells.

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  • 1Helix Research Institute, Chiba, Japan.


Extracellular stimuli trigger adipocyte differentiation by inducing the complex cascades of transcription. Transcription factors CCAAT enhancer-binding proteins (C/EBPs) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma) play crucial roles in this process. Although ectopic expression of these factors in NIH-3T3 cells, a multipotential mesenchymal stem cell line, results in adipogenic conversion, little is known as to hormonal factors that regulate adipogenesis in these cells. In this report we demonstrate that PRL, a lactogenic hormone, enhances C/EBPbeta and PPARbeta mRNA expression and augments adipogenic conversion of NIH-3T3 cells. Moreover, we show that ectopic expression of the PRL receptor in NIH-3T3 cells results in efficient adipocyte conversion when stimulated with PRL and a PPARgamma ligand, as evidenced by expression of the adipocyte differentiation-specific genes as well as the presence of fat-laden cells. We further demonstrate that signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5), a PRL signal transducer, activates aP2 promoter in a PRL-dependent manner. These results suggest that PRL acts as an adipogenesis-enhancing hormone in NIH-3T3 cells.

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