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PLoS One. 2009 Jun 30;4(6):e6088. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006088.

Metabolites of an Epac-selective cAMP analog induce cortisol synthesis by adrenocortical cells through a cAMP-independent pathway.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, The Ohio State University, College of Medicine and Public Health, Columbus, OH, USA.

Abstract

Adrenal zona fasciculata (AZF) cells express a cAMP-activated guanine nucleotide exchange protein (Epac2) that may function in ACTH-stimulated cortisol synthesis. Experiments were done to determine whether cAMP analogs that selectively activate Epacs could induce cortisol synthesis and the expression of genes coding for steroidogenic proteins in bovine AZF cells. Treatment of AZF cells with the Epac-selective cAMP analog (ESCA) 8CPT-2'-OMe-cAMP induced large (>100 fold), concentration-dependent, delayed increases in cortisol synthesis and the expression of mRNAs coding for the steroid hydroxylases CYP11a1, CYP17, CYP21, and the steroid acute regulatory protein (StAR). However, a non-hydrolyzable analog of this ESCA, Sp-8CPT-2'-OMe-cAMP, failed to stimulate cortisol production even at concentrations that activated Rap1, a downstream effector of Epac2. Accordingly, putative metabolites of 8CPT-2'-OMe-cAMP, including 8CPT-2'-OMe-5'AMP, 8CPT-2'-OMe-adenosine, and 8CPT-adenine all induced cortisol synthesis and steroid hydroxylase mRNA expression with a temporal pattern, potency, and effectiveness similar to the parent compound. At concentrations that markedly stimulated cortisol production, none of these metabolites significantly activated cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). These results show that one or more metabolites of the ESCA 8CPT-2'-OMe-cAMP induce cortico-steroidogenesis by activating a panel of genes that code for steroidogenic proteins. The remarkable increases in cortisol synthesis observed in this study appear to be mediated by a novel cAMP-, Epac- and PKA-independent signaling pathway.

PMID:
19564912
PMCID:
PMC2698983
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0006088
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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