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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Jan;118(1-2):125-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2009.11.005. Epub 2009 Nov 17.

Opposing actions of the progesterone metabolites, 5alpha-dihydroprogesterone (5alphaP) and 3alpha-dihydroprogesterone (3alphaHP) on mitosis, apoptosis, and expression of Bcl-2, Bax and p21 in human breast cell lines.

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1
Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. jwiebe@uwo.ca

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that breast tissues and breast cell lines convert progesterone (P) to 5alpha-dihydroprogesterone (5alphaP) and 3alpha-dihydroprogesterone (3alphaHP) and that 3alphaHP suppresses, whereas 5alphaP promotes, cell proliferation and detachment. The objectives of the current studies were to determine if the 5alphaP- and 3alphaHP-induced changes in cell numbers are due to altered rates of mitosis and/or apoptosis, and if 3alphaHP and 5alphaP act on tumorigenic and non-tumorigenic cells, regardless of estrogen (E) and P receptor status. The studies were conducted on tumorigenic (MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, T47D) and non-tumorigenic (MCF-10A) human breast cell lines, employing several methods to assess the effects of the hormones on cell proliferation, mitosis, apoptosis and expression of Bcl-2, Bax and p21. In all four cell lines, 5alphaP increased, whereas 3alphaHP decreased cell numbers, [(3)H]thymidine uptake and mitotic index. Apoptosis was stimulated by 3alphaHP and suppressed by 5alphaP. 5alphaP resulted in increases in Bcl-2/Bax ratio, indicating decreased apoptosis; 3alphaHP resulted in decreases in Bcl-2/Bax ratio, indicating increased apoptosis. The effects of either 3alphaHP or 5alphaP on cell numbers, [(3)H]thymidine uptake, mitosis, apoptosis, and Bcl-2/Bax ratio, were abrogated when cells were treated simultaneously with both hormones. The expression of p21 was increased by 3alphaHP, and was unaffected by 5alphaP. The results provide the first evidence that 5alphaP stimulates mitosis and suppresses apoptosis, whereas 3alphaHP inhibits mitosis and stimulates apoptosis. The opposing effects of 5alphaP and 3alphaHP were observed in all four breast cell lines examined and the data suggest that all breast cancers (estrogen-responsive and unresponsive) might be suppressed by blocking 5alphaP formation and/or increasing 3alphaHP. The findings further support the hypothesis that progesterone metabolites are key regulatory hormones and that changes in their relative concentrations in the breast microenvironment determine whether breast tissues remain normal or become cancerous.

PMID:
19931389
DOI:
10.1016/j.jsbmb.2009.11.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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