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Eur J Endocrinol. 1994 Feb;130(2):166-70.

Stimulation of sex hormone-binding globulin mRNA and attenuation of corticosteroid-binding globulin mRNA by triiodothyronine in human hepatoma cells.

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Ewen Downie Metabolic Unit, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Eur J Endocrinol 1995 May;132(5):642.


We examined the time course and dose response of the triiodothyronine (T3) effect on mRNAs for sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) in cells of the human hepatoma line HepG2. After 7 h of exposure to a saturating dose of T3, SHBG mRNA was unchanged but increased to 1.5 +/- 0.1 times the unstimulated control at 22 h. Maximal stimulation (2.3 +/- 0.6) was observed at 2-3 days. Corticosteroid-binding globulin mRNA was unchanged for 22 h after exposure to T3 but diminished thereafter to 64% by day 3. At 3-4 days of exposure, the changes in both SHBG mRNA and CBG mRNA were dose-responsive to the T3 concentration. For both mRNAs, half-maximal response occurred between 10 and 20 pmol/l bioavailable T3. Cortisol-binding proteins secreted by HepG2 cells after 3 days in culture also were T3 dose-responsive. No re-uptake of secreted CBG by the cells was observed, suggesting that the T3 effect on CBG secretion occurs during production of the mature protein. These data suggest that T3 stimulates the expression of the SHBG gene and attenuates the expression of the CBG gene. The effects of T3 on these genes are consistent with the increase in circulating SHBG and decrease in circulating CBG observed in hyperthyroidism. The HepG2 cells may be a useful human cell line in which to study the diversity of the molecular mechanisms of T3 action.

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