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Cancer Res. 2006 Apr 15;66(8):4516-24.

Inhibition of p38 by vitamin D reduces interleukin-6 production in normal prostate cells via mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 5: implications for prostate cancer prevention by vitamin D.

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Department of Urology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5118, USA.


Although numerous studies have implicated vitamin D in preventing prostate cancer, the underlying mechanism(s) remains unclear. Using normal human prostatic epithelial cells, we examined the role of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase 5 (MKP5) in mediating cancer preventive activities of vitamin D. Up-regulation of MKP5 mRNA by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3 (1,25D) was dependent on the vitamin D receptor. We also identified a putative positive vitamin D response element within the MKP5 promoter that associated with the vitamin D receptor following 1,25D treatment. MKP5 dephosphorylates/inactivates the stress-activated protein kinase p38. Treatment of prostate cells with 1,25D inhibited p38 phosphorylation, and MKP5 small interfering RNA blocked this effect. Activation of p38 and downstream production of interleukin 6 (IL-6) are proinflammatory. Inflammation and IL-6 overexpression have been implicated in the initiation and progression of prostate cancer. 1,25D pretreatment inhibited both UV- and tumor necrosis factor alpha-stimulated IL-6 production in normal cells via p38 inhibition. Consistent with inhibition of p38, 1,25D decreased UV-stimulated IL-6 mRNA stabilization. The ability of 1,25D to up-regulate MKP5 was maintained in primary prostatic adenocarcinoma cells but was absent in metastases-derived prostate cancer cell lines. The inability of 1,25D to regulate MKP5 in the metastasis-derived cancer cells suggests there may be selective pressure to eliminate key tumor suppressor functions of vitamin D during cancer progression. These studies reveal MKP5 as a mediator of p38 inactivation and decreased IL-6 expression by 1,25D in primary prostatic cultures of normal and adenocarcinoma cells, implicating decreased prostatic inflammation as a potential mechanism for prostate cancer prevention by 1,25D.

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