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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012 Oct;132(1-2):15-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.12.009. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Rapid membrane responses to dihydrotestosterone are sex dependent in growth plate chondrocytes.

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  • 1Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, United States.


Sex steroids are important regulators for longitudinal growth, bone mass accrual, and sexual dimorphism of the skeleton. 17β-Estradiol regulates proliferation and differentiation of female chondrocytes via a membrane-associated signaling pathway in addition to its estrogen receptor (ER) mediated effects. In contrast, testosterone does not elicit a similar membrane response, either in male or female cells. Whereas female rat growth plate chondrocytes convert testosterone to 17β-estradiol, male chondrocytes produce 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Previously DHT was found to mediate sex-specific effects of testosterone in male cells, but it is not known if a membrane-signaling pathway is involved. In this study, we hypothesized that DHT can induce sex-specific rapid membrane effects similar to other steroid hormones. Confluent cultures of chondrocytes isolated from resting zones of growth plates of both male and female rats were treated with 10(-10)-10(-7)M testosterone or DHT for 3, 9, 90 and 270min and protein kinase C (PKC) and phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activities were measured. To examine potential signaling pathways involved in PKC activation, male chondrocytes were treated with 10(-7)M DHT for 9min in the presence or absence of the phospholipase C (PLC) inhibitor U73122, the secretory PLA2 inhibitor quinacrine or the cytosolic PLA2 inhibitor AACOCF3; the Gαi inhibitor pertussis toxin (PTX) or Gαs activator cholera toxin (CTX), and the general G-protein inhibitor GDPβS; thapsigargin, an inhibitor of a Ca-ATPase pump in the endoplasmic reticulum; verapamil and nifedipine, inhibitors of specific L type Ca2+ channels on the cell membrane; and cyproterone acetate (CPA), which is an inhibitor of the classical androgen receptor (AR); as well as the transcription inhibitor actinomycin D, or the translation inhibitor cycloheximide. DHT induced a dose-dependent increase in PKC and PLA2 activity in male cells with the highest increase at 10(-7)M DHT (p<0.05), whereas testosterone had no effect. PKC activity was augmented at 9 and 90 min, and then decreased to baseline at 270min. Neither testosterone nor DHT affected PKC in female cells. U73122, quinacrine, and AACOCF3 inhibited DHT-induced activation of PKC. DHT treatment for 9 min had no effect in [(3)H]-thymidine incorporation in quiescent confluent cultures but caused a dose dependent increase in alkaline phosphatase specific activity. Inhibition of PLC reduced the response of to DHT in a dose dependent manner, indicating that PLC is involved. In conclusion, our study indicates that DHT, but not testosterone, has sex-specific rapid membrane effects in male growth plate chondrocytes involving PLC and PLA2-mediated PKC signaling pathways. Together with previous observations showing that male cells convert testosterone to DHT, these results suggest that DHT might act in the membrane through an autocrine/paracrine mechanism.

Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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