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Biochem Pharmacol. 1994 Nov 1;48(9):1815-22.

Biphasic regulation of cytochrome P450 2B1/2 mRNA expression by dexamethasone in primary cultures of adult rat hepatocytes maintained on matrigel.

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Department of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond.


We have demonstrated recently that although rat hepatocytes rapidly lose their cytochrome P450 mRNA content following their introduction into primary culture, hepatocytes cultured on Matrigel, a reconstituted basement membrane, subsequently spontaneously "reexpress" the mRNAs of some constitutive P450 forms (Kocarek et al., Mol Pharmacol 43: 328-334, 1993). In the present study, we used the Matrigel cell culture system to examine the dose-dependent effects of dexamethasone (DEX) treatments on the mRNAs for two of the P450 forms that are reexpressed spontaneously between days 3 and 5 in culture, 2B1/2 and 2C6. Treatment of cultured hepatocytes with low doses of DEX (10(-9) to 10(-8) M) that induced the mRNA for tyrosine aminotransferase, a model glucocorticoid-inducible gene, suppressed the spontaneous appearance of 2B1/2 mRNA while having little or no effect on the level of 2C6 mRNA or on beta-actin mRNA. However, treatment of the hepatocyte cultures with high doses of DEX (10(-6) to 10(-5) M) that induced P450 3A1 mRNA increased the amounts of the 2B1/2 and 2C6 mRNAs (4.1- and 2.4-fold, respectively, at 10(-5) M DEX). In contrast to the suppressive effects on the spontaneous increases in 2B1/2 mRNA, low doses of DEX (10(-8) to 10(-7) M) enhanced the induction of 2B1/2 mRNA by phenobarbital (2.5-fold at 10(-7) M DEX). Treatment of the hepatocyte cultures with triamcinolone acetonide, another potent glucocorticoid, suppressed spontaneous 2B1/2 mRNA expression at low doses, but did not induce 2B1/2 mRNA at high doses. Treatments with steroids of other classes, including dihydrotestosterone, 17 alpha-ethinylestradiol, fludrocortisone or R-5020, failed to suppress 2B1/2 mRNA levels at low doses. Additionally, treatment with RU-486, a glucocorticoid/progestin receptor antagonist, induced 2B1/2 mRNA at high doses (10(-6) to 10(-5) M). The suppressive effects of DEX on spontaneous 2B1/2 mRNA expression observed at low doses are consistent with a classical glucocorticoid-mediated mechanism, while the high-dose inductive effects of DEX appear to be exerted through a nonclassical mechanism, perhaps akin to that for induction of 3A1.

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