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Expression and regulation of retinoic acid receptors in human breast cancer cells


Retinoic acid is known to inhibit mammary carcinogenesis in rodents and to inhibit proliferation and steroid hormone receptor gene expression in human breast cancer cells. Since these effects are likely to be mediated by nuclear retinoic acid receptors (RARs) the present study was initiated to determine the expression and regulation of RARs in human breast cancer cell lines. Differential cellular gene expression of the RARs was determined by Northern blot analysis of total RNA prepared from 5 ER+ and 6 ER- cell lines. RAR alpha was detected as mRNA species of 2.7 and 3.4 kilobases in all cell lines and the level of gene expression was greater in ER+ cell lines (P less than 0.001). RAR beta mRNA (3.7 kilobases) was detected in seven of the eleven lines tested and was expressed most commonly in ER- cell lines. RAR gamma mRNA was expressed in all cell lines as a transcript of 3.4 kilobases at levels that were similar in both ER+ and ER- cell lines. Retinoic acid failed to regulate the expression of the RAR alpha and RAR gamma genes. The effect of steroid hormones on RAR alpha and RAR gamma mRNA levels was also examined. In four PR+ cell lines (T-47D, BT 474, MCF-7M, and MDA-MB-361), progestins markedly decreased RAR alpha mRNA levels. The progestin effect on RAR alpha levels in T-47D cells was detectable at concentrations of 0.05 nM and was maximal at 1 nM 16 alpha-ethyl-21-hydroxy-19-nor-4-pregnene-3,20-dione ORG 2058, whereas dihydrotestosterone and dexamethasone were without effect. RAR alpha and RAR gamma mRNA levels were rapidly decreased by progestin, and the effect was maximal 3-6 h after ORG 2058 treatment. However, the mRNA loss was transient, and recovery of RAR alpha and RAR gamma mRNA levels was noted 12-24 h after retinoic acid treatment. Although RAR gamma mRNA returned to control levels by 24 h, the decrease in RAR alpha mRNA was maintained at around 50% control until at least 48 h. In summary, RAR alpha and RAR gamma were expressed in all human breast cancer cell lines and were regulated by progestins in the PR+ T-47D cell line. The previously reported ability of retinoic acid to down-regulate PR mRNA and the present demonstration that progestins down-regulate RAR alpha and RAR gamma mRNA suggest that mutual regulation may be a mechanism through which PR and the RARs interact in human breast cancer cells.

Type Journal
ISBN 0008-5472 (Print)
Authors Roman, S. D.;Clarke, C. L.;Hall, R. E.;Alexander, I. E.;Sutherland, R. L. :
Published Date 1992-01-01
Published Volume 52
Published Issue 8
Published Pages 2236-42
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version