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Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 1995 Nov;55(7):617-23.

Promoter-mediated, dexamethasone-induced increase in cystatin C production by HeLa cells.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


Cystatin C, an efficient inhibitor of cysteine proteinases, is present in all investigated human extracellular fluids. Dexamethasone caused a significant and dose-dependent increase in the cystatin C secretion of cultivated HeLa cells up to a maximal increase of 80% at 10(-6) mol l-1 dexamethasone. Increased production of cystatin C was also observed at lower concentrations, suggesting that glucocorticoids might play a physiological role in the production of cystatin C. The effect of dexamethasone on the cystatin C gene expression was also studied in a transient transfection expression system using chimeric plasmid constructs of the cystatin C gene promoter (positions -2 to -1084) coupled to the structural gene for human growth hormone (hGH). In this system, a small, but statistically significant, increase in hGH secretion was also observed upon dexamethasone treatment, suggesting that the glucocorticoid-induced increase in secretion of cystatin C is due to a promoter-mediated increase in transcription of the cystatin C gene.

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