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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 18;6(1):e16027. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016027.

Effects of androgen receptor and androgen on gene expression in prostate stromal fibroblasts and paracrine signaling to prostate cancer cells.

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Ordway Research Institute, Albany, New York, United States of America.


The androgen receptor (AR) is expressed in a subset of prostate stromal cells and functional stromal cell AR is required for normal prostate developmental and influences the growth of prostate tumors. Although we are broadly aware of the specifics of the genomic actions of AR in prostate cancer cells, relatively little is known regarding the gene targets of functional AR in prostate stromal cells. Here, we describe a novel human prostate stromal cell model that enabled us to study the effects of AR on gene expression in these cells. The model involves a genetically manipulated variant of immortalized human WPMY-1 prostate stromal cells that overexpresses wildtype AR (WPMY-AR) at a level comparable to LNCaP cells and is responsive to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) stimulation. Use of WPMY-AR cells for gene expression profiling showed that the presence of AR, even in the absence of DHT, significantly altered the gene expression pattern of the cells compared to control (WPMY-Vec) cells. Treatment of WPMY-AR cells, but not WPMY-Vec control cells, with DHT resulted in further changes that affected the expression of 141 genes by 2-fold or greater compared to vehicle treated WPMY-AR cells. Remarkably, DHT significantly downregulated more genes than were upregulated but many of these changes reversed the initial effects of AR overexpression alone on individual genes. The genes most highly effected by DHT treatment were categorized based upon their role in cancer pathways or in cell signaling pathways (transforming growth factor-β, Wnt, Hedgehog and MAP Kinase) thought to be involved in stromal-epithelial crosstalk during prostate or prostate cancer development. DHT treatment of WPMY-AR cells was also sufficient to alter their paracrine potential for prostate cancer cells as conditioned medium from DHT-treated WPMY-AR significantly increased growth of LNCaP cells compared to DHT-treated WPMY-Vec cell conditioned medium.

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