Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 15;84(4):239-252. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2018.01.002. Epub 2018 Jan 9.

Genes and Pathways Regulated by Androgens in Human Neural Cells, Potential Candidates for the Male Excess in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Author information

1
Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 7104, Illkirch, France; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U964, Illkirch, France; Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France.
2
Center for the Study of Stem Cells, Institute for Stem Cell Therapy and Exploration of Monogenic Diseases, French Muscular Disease Association, Corbeil-Essonnes, Paris, France.
3
Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 7104, Illkirch, France; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U964, Illkirch, France; Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France; Human Genetics, Collège de France, Paris, France; Laboratory of Genetic Diagnostics, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; University of Strasbourg Institute of Advanced Studies, Strasbourg, France.
4
Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Illkirch, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 7104, Illkirch, France; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U964, Illkirch, France; Université de Strasbourg, Illkirch, France; Laboratory of Genetic Diagnostics, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France. Electronic address: piton@igbmc.fr.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prenatal exposure to androgens during brain development in male individuals may participate to increase their susceptibility to develop neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability. However, little is known about the action of androgens in human neural cells.

METHODS:

We used human neural stem cells differentiated from embryonic stem cells to investigate targets of androgens.

RESULTS:

RNA sequencing revealed that treatment with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) leads to subtle but significant changes in the expression of about 200 genes, encoding proteins of extracellular matrix or involved in signal transduction of growth factors (e.g., insulin/insulin growth factor 1). We showed that the most differentially expressed genes (DEGs), RGCC, RNF144B, NRCAM, TRIM22, FAM107A, IGFBP5, and LAMA2, are reproducibly regulated by different androgens in different genetic backgrounds. We showed, by overexpressing the androgen receptor in neuroblastoma cells SH-SY5Y or knocking it down in human neural stem cells, that this regulation involves the androgen receptor. A chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with direct sequencing analysis identified androgen receptor-bound sequences in nearly half of the DHT-DEGs and in numerous other genes. DHT-DEGs appear enriched in genes involved in ASD (ASXL3, NLGN4X, etc.), associated with ASD (NRCAM), or differentially expressed in patients with ASD (FAM107A, IGFBP5). Androgens increase human neural stem cell proliferation and survival in nutrient-deprived culture conditions, with no detectable effect on regulation of neurite outgrowth.

CONCLUSIONS:

We characterized androgen action in neural progenitor cells, identifying DHT-DEGs that appear to be enriched in genes related to ASD. We also showed that androgens increase proliferation of neuronal precursors and protect them from death during their differentiation in nutrient-deprived conditions.

KEYWORDS:

Androgen receptor; Androgens; Autism spectrum disorder; Gene expression; Neural progenitor cells; Sex bias

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center