[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TGF-β plays an important role in the progression of prostate cancer. It exhibits both tumor suppressor and tumor-promoting activities. Correlations between cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 overexpression and enhanced production of prostaglandin (PG)E2 have been implicated in cancer progression; however, there are no studies indicating that TGF-β effects in prostate cancer cells involve PGE2 synthesis. In this study, we investigated TGF-β regulation of COX-1 and COX-2 expression in prostate cancer cells and whether the effects of TGF-β on cell proliferation and migration are mediated by PGE2. COX-1 protein was ubiquitously expressed in prostate cells; however, COX-2 protein levels were detected only in prostate cancer cells. TGF-β treatment increased COX-2 protein levels and PGE2 secretion in PC3 cells. Exogenous PGE2 and PGF2α had no effects on cell proliferation in LNCaP, DU145, and PC3 cells whereas PGE2 and TGF-β induced migration and invasive behavior in PC3 cells. Only EP2 and EP4 receptors were detected at mRNA levels in prostate cells. The EP4-targeting small interfering RNA inhibited PGE2 and TGF-β-induced migration of PC3 cells. TGF-β and PGE2 induce activation of PI3K/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway as indicated by increased AKT, p70S6K, and S6 phosphorylation. Rapamycin completely blocked the effects of TGF-β and PGE2 on phosphorylation of p70S6K and S6 but not on AKT phosphorylation. PGE2 and TGF-β induced phosphorylation of AKT, which was blocked by antagonists of PGE2 (EP4) receptors (L161982, AH23848) and PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) in PC3 cells. Pretreatment with L161982 or AH23848 blocked the stimulatory effects of PGE2 and TGF-β on cell migration, whereas LY294002 or rapamycin completely eliminated PGE2, TGF-β, and epidermal growth factor-induced migration in PC3 cells. We conclude that TGF-β increases COX-2 levels and PGE2 secretion in prostate cancer cells which, in turn, mediate TGF-β effects on cell migration and invasion through the activation of PI3K/AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways contain both tumor suppressor and tumor promoting activities. We have demonstrated that Nodal, another member of the TGF-β superfamily, and its receptors are expressed in prostate cancer cells. Nodal and TGF-β exerted similar biological effects on prostate cells; both inhibited proliferation in WPE, RWPE1 and DU145 cells, whereas neither had any effect on the proliferation of LNCaP or PC3 cells. Interestingly, Nodal and TGF-β induced migration in PC3 cells, but not in DU145 cells. TGF-β induced predominantly phosphorylation of Smad3, whereas Nodal induced phosphorylation of only Smad2. We also determined the expression and differential role of Ski, a corepressor of Smad2/3, in Nodal and TGF-β signaling in prostate cancer cells. Similar levels of Ski mRNA were found in several established prostate cell lines; however, high levels of Ski protein were only detected in prostate cancer cells and prostate cancer tissue samples. Exogenous Nodal and TGF-β had no effects on Ski mRNA levels. On the other hand, TGF-β induced a rapid degradation of Ski protein mediated by the proteasomal pathway, whereas Nodal had no effect on Ski protein. Reduced Ski levels correlated with increased basal and TGF-β-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation. Knockdown of endogenous Ski reduced proliferation in DU145 cells and enhanced migration of PC3 cells. We conclude that high levels of Ski expression in prostate cancer cells may be responsible for repression of TGF-β and Smad3 signaling, but Ski protein levels do not influence Nodal and Smad2 signaling.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxia and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) increase vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) expression in a number of malignancies. This effect of hypoxia and TGF-β1 might be responsible for tumor progression and metastasis of advanced prostate cancer. In the present study, TGF-β1 was shown to induce VEGFA(165) secretion from both normal cell lines (HPV7 and RWPE1) and prostate cancer cell lines (DU145 and PC3). Conversely, hypoxia-stimulated VEGFA(165) secretion was observed only in prostate cancer cell lines. Hypoxia induced TGF-β1 expression in PC3 prostate cancer cells, and the TGF-β type I receptor (ALK5) kinase inhibitor partially blocked hypoxia-mediated VEGFA(165) secretion. This effect of hypoxia provides a novel mechanism to increase VEGFA expression in prostate cancer cells. Although autocrine signaling of VEGFA has been implicated in prostate cancer progression and metastasis, the associated mechanism is poorly characterized. VEGFA activity is mediated via VEGF receptor (VEGFR) 1 (Flt-1) and 2 (Flk-1/KDR). Whereas VEGFR-1 mRNA was detected in normal prostate epithelial cells, VEGFR-2 mRNA and VEGFR protein were expressed only in PC3 cells. VEGFA(165) treatment induced phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) in PC3 cells but not in HPV7 cells, suggesting that the autocrine function of VEGFA may be uniquely associated with prostate cancer. Activation of VEGFR-2 by VEGFA(165) was shown to enhance migration of PC3 cells. A similar effect was also observed with endogenous VEGFA induced by TGF-β1 and hypoxia. These findings illustrate that an autocrine loop of VEGFA via VEGFR-2 is critical for the tumorigenic effects of TGF-β1 and hypoxia on metastatic prostate cancers.
Asian Journal of Andrology 06/2012; 14(5):745-51. · 2.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) is a secreted cytokine implicated as a factor in cancer cell migration and invasion. Previous studies have indicated that TGFβ isoforms may exert differential effects on cancer cells during different stages of the disease, however very little is known about the expression patterns and activity of the three isoforms in prostate cancer. Non-traditional signaling pathways including the PI3-Kinase have been associated with TGFβ-mediated effects on cancer cell invasion. In the present study, we have carried out expression analysis of TGFβ isoforms and signaling components in cell line models representing different stages of prostate cancer and studied the differential effects of specific isoforms on migratory and invasive behavior and induction of the PI3-kinase pathway. TGFβ1 and TGFβ3 were expressed in all cell lines, with TGFβ3 expression increasing in metastatic cell lines. Both TGFβ1 and TGFβ3 induced motility and invasive behavior in PC3 cells, however, TGFβ3 was significantly more potent than TGFβ1. TGFβRI and Smad3 inhibitors blocked TGFβ1 and TGFβ3 induced motility and invasion. TGFβ3 caused a significant increase in pAKT(ser473) in PC3 cells and PI3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 blocked TGFβ3 induced migration, invasion and phosphorylation of AKT. Both TGFβRI and Smad3 inhibitors blocked TGFβ3 induced pAKT(ser473). Based on these results, we conclude that TGFβ3 is expressed in metastatic prostate cancer cell lines and is involved in induction of invasive behavior in these cells. Furthermore, these effects of TGFβ3 are TGFβRI and Smad3 dependent and mediated via the PI3-kinase pathway.
Clinical and Experimental Metastasis 06/2012; · 3.46 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nodal, a TGFβ like growth factor, functions as an embryonic morphogen that maintains the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. Nodal has been implicated in cancer progression; however, there is no information on expression and functions of Nodal in prostate cancer. In this study, we have investigated the expression of Nodal, its receptors, and its effects on proliferation and migration of human prostate cells.
RT-PCR, qPCR, and Western blot analyses were performed to analyze expression of Nodal and Nodal receptors and its effects on phosphorylation of Smad2/3 in prostate cells. The effects on proliferation and migration were determined by (3) H-Thymidine incorporation and cell migration assays in the presence or absence of Nodal receptor inhibitor (SB431542).
Nodal was highly expressed in WPE, DU145, LNCaP, and LNCaP-C81 cells with low expression in RWPE1 and RWPE2 cells, but not in PREC, PC3 and PC3M cells. Nodal receptors are expressed at varying levels in all prostate cells. Treatment with exogenous Nodal induced phosphorylation of Smad2/3 in WPE, DU145, and PC3 cells, which was blocked by SB431542. Nodal dose-dependently inhibited proliferation of WPE, RWPE1 and DU145 cells, but not LNCaP and PC3 cells. Nodal induced cell migration in PC3 cells, which was inhibited by SB431542; Nodal had no effect on cell migration in WPE and DU145 cells. The effects of Nodal on cell proliferation and migration are mediated via ALK4 and ActRII/ActRIIB receptors and Smad 2/3 phosphorylation.
Nodal may function as an autocrine regulator of proliferation and migration of prostate cancer cells.
The Prostate 07/2011; 71(10):1084-96. · 3.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of genes that encode oxytocin (OXT) and vasopressin (AVP) and their cognate receptors in normal and diseased prostates are only partially characterized. Reverse transcription and PCR were used to examine the expression of these genes in normal prostate epithelial and stromal cell lines, k-ras-transformed prostate epithelial cell lines, and in four prostate cancer cell lines. Secreted and cell-associated OXT peptide was measured by an enzyme immunoassay. OXT and its receptor (OXTR) were expressed in all eight prostate cell lines. Cell-associated OXT peptide was also found in all prostate epithelial cell lines except in DU145 cells. Neither AVP nor its cognate receptors (V1a receptor and V2 receptor) were expressed in any prostate cell line examined. These data point to the OXTR as the primary target of OXT and AVP, and suggest that OXT might be an autocrine/paracrine regulator in human prostate. We found that OXT induces the migration of PC3 and PC3M, but not DU145 prostate cancer cells. The effect of OXT is distinct from the epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced migration of prostate cancer cells, in which ERK1/2 and EGF receptor kinase activities were required. When cells were pretreated with pertussis toxin, the effect of OXT, but not EGF, on cell migration was abolished. Pretreatment with the cyclic AMP analogue, 8-Br-cAMP, did not affect OXT-induced cell migration, which eliminated the nonspecific effect of pertussis toxin. We conclude that a Gi-dependent mechanism is involved in OXTR-mediated migration of prostate cancer cells, and indicates a role for OXTR in prostate cancer metastasis.
Molecular Cancer Research 08/2010; 8(8):1164-72. · 4.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The proliferation and differentiation of normal prostate epithelial cells depends upon the action of androgens produced by the testis. Prostate cancers retain the ability to respond to androgens in the initial stages of cancer development, but progressively become independent of exogenous androgens in advanced stages of the disease while maintaining the expression of functional androgen receptor (AR). In the present study, we have determined the potential of prostate cancer cells to synthesize androgens from cholesterol which may be involved in intracrine regulation of AR in advanced stages of the disease. Established androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines, PC3 and DU145 cells, expressed mRNA and proteins for scavenger receptor type B1 (SRB1), steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein, cytochrome P450 cholesterol side chain cleavage (P450scc), 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) and other enzymes involved in androgen biosynthesis. Expression of all these proteins and enzymes was significantly higher in the androgen-independent derivative of LNCaP prostate cancer cells (C81) than in the androgen-dependent cell line (C33). In serum-free cultures, the androgen-independent C81 cells secreted approximately 5-fold higher testosterone than C33 cells as determined in the conditioned media by immunoassays. These cells could also directly convert radioactive cholesterol into testosterone which was identified by thin layer chromatography. These results for the first time show that prostate cancer cells in advanced stages of the disease could synthesize androgens from cholesterol and hence are not dependent upon testicular and/or adrenal androgens.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 09/2008; 295(1-2):115-20. · 4.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) is now recognized as the prototypical endocrine disruptor. Using a hamster experimental system, we performed a detailed temporal assessment of how neonatal DES-induced disruption progresses in the testis compared to the seminal vesicle. Both morphological and Western blot analyses confirmed that neonatal DES exposure alters androgen responsiveness in the male hamster reproductive tract. We also determined that the disruption phenomenon in the male hamster is manifest much earlier in the seminal vesicle than in the testis and that testis disruption often occurs differently between the pair of organs in a given animal. In the neonatally DES-exposed seminal vesicle, histopathological effects included: (1) general atrophy, (2) lack of exocrine products, (3) epithelial dysplasia, (4) altered organization of stromal cells and extracellular matrix, and (5) striking infiltration with polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Also, the morphological disruption phenomenon in the seminal vesicle was accompanied by a range of up-regulation and down-regulation responses in the whole organ levels of various proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Postnatal development and function of testicular Sertoli cells are regulated primarily by FSH. During this early period of development, estrogens play a role in proliferation of somatic cells, which contributes significantly to testicular development. Growth factors like epidermal growth factor (EGF) are produced in the testis and play a role in regulation of estradiol production and male fertility. Although these divergent factors modulate gonadal function, little is known about their mechanism of action in Sertoli cells. The present study investigates the intracellular events that take place down-stream of FSH and EGF receptors in Sertoli cells isolated from immature (10-d-old) rats, and examines which intracellular signals may be involved in their effects on aromatase activity and estradiol production in immature rat Sertoli cells. Primary cultures of rat Sertoli cells were treated with FSH in combination with EGF and signaling pathway-specific inhibitors. Levels of estradiol production, aromatase mRNA (Cyp19a1), and aromatase protein (CYP19A1) were determined. Western blot analysis was performed to determine the effects of FSH and EGF on levels of activated (phosphorylated) AKT1 and p42 ERK2 and p44 ERK1, also named MAPK1 and MAPK3, respectively. The stimulatory actions of FSH on aromatase mRNA, aromatase protein, and estradiol production were blocked by inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT1 signaling pathway. In contrast, inhibition of ERK signaling augmented the stimulatory effects of FSH on estradiol production, aromatase mRNA, and protein levels. Furthermore, EGF inhibited the expression of aromatase mRNA and protein in response to FSH, and these inhibitory effects of EGF were critically dependent on the activation of the ERK signaling pathway. We conclude that an active phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase /AKT signaling pathway is required for the stimulatory actions of FSH, whereas an active ERK/MAPK pathway inhibits estradiol production and aromatase expression in immature Sertoli cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study investigated the roles of the protein kinase C (PKC) and protein kinase A (PKA) pathways in regulating constitutive steroidogenesis and steroidogenic acute regulatory (STAR; herein designated by its common name, StAR) protein in R2C Leydig tumor cells. Inhibition of PKC and phospholipase C resulted in significant decreases in steroid production, phosphorylation of cAMP-responsive element binding (CREB) protein, and Star gene transcription under basal conditions in R2C cells. These observations were corroborated in MA-10 and mLTC-1 Leydig tumor cell lines, in which activation of PKC by phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA, 10 nM) increased CREB phosphorylation and total StAR (tot-StAR) protein expression. However, induction of StAR protein by PMA did not result in the expected concomitant increase in steroids because PKC failed to phosphorylate StAR, the biologically active form of the protein. However, in conjunction with PMA, minor increases in PKA activity using submaximal doses of (Bu)2cAMP (0.05-0.1 mM; a concentration range insufficient for induction of StAR), were able to stimulate dramatic increases in both phospho-StAR (P-StAR) and steroid production. Human chorionic gonadotropin stimulation also resulted in a further enhancement in P-StAR and progesterone production when added to PMA-treated MA-10 cells. Similar results for tot-StAR and P-StAR expression were observed in primary cultures of immature rat Leydig cells treated with PMA and submaximal doses of (Bu)2cAMP. In summary, the present study demonstrates that basal activities of both PKC and PKA play important roles in the constitutive steroidogenic characteristics of R2C cells. This study also demonstrates for the first time a role for PMA-induced PKC in StAR protein regulation and the requirement for submaximal doses of cAMP to produce steroids in Leydig cells.
Biology of Reproduction 09/2005; 73(2):244-55. · 4.03 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neonatal treatment with diethylstilbestrol (DES) leads to disruption of spermatogenesis in adult animals after apparently normal testicular development during puberty indicating aberrant androgen action in DES-exposed adult hamsters. The present study determined the effects of exogenous androgens in neonatally DES-exposed hamsters. Exogenous androgens failed to reverse the disruption of spermatogenesis in DES-exposed animals. Neonatal DES exposure caused a significant decrease in seminal vesicle weight, and abnormal histology. While exogenous androgens caused a significant increase in seminal vesicle weight in control animals, they failed to restore the seminal vesicle weight and normal histology in DES-exposed animals. Northern blot and/or RT-PCR analysis revealed that (1) AR, ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA levels were unchanged in DES-exposed animals, and (2) mRNA levels for the AR-responsive genes calreticulin, SEC-23B, and ornithine decarboxylase were significantly decreased in DES-exposed animals. Our results suggest that neonatal DES exposure impairs the action of androgens on target organs in male hamsters.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have determined the effects of LH on the expression of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFalpha) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) system in rat Leydig cells and investigated its role in steroidogenesis. LH and TGFalpha/epidermal growth factor (EGF) significantly increased the levels of TGFalpha mRNA and protein, and the levels of EGFR protein in immature rat Leydig cells (ILC). Treatment with TGFalpha or EGF for 24h resulted in significant increase in androgen production in ILC. The increase in androgen production in response to TGFalpha was associated with increased mRNA levels of SR-BI, steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) and P450scc but not of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) and P450c17. TGFalpha also caused a marked increase in the levels StAR protein in ILC. EGFR inhibitor (AG1478) blocked the effects of TGFalpha while MEK-inhibitor (PD98059) potentiated TGFalpha or LH effects on steroidogenesis. A PKA inhibitor (H89) blocked both TGFalpha and LH effects on steroidogenesis. We conclude that TGFalpha plays an autocrine role in LH dependent development and function of Leydig cells.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 10/2004; 224(1-2):29-39. · 4.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Complete genome annotation will likely be achieved through a combination of computer-based analysis of available genome sequences combined with direct experimental characterization of expressed regions of individual genomes. We have utilized a comparative genomics approach involving the sequencing of randomly selected hamster testis cDNAs to begin to identify genes not previously annotated on the human, mouse, rat and Fugu (pufferfish) genomes.
735 distinct sequences were analyzed for their relatedness to known sequences in public databases. Eight of these sequences were derived from previously unidentified genes and expression of these genes in testis was confirmed by Northern blotting. The genomic locations of each sequence were mapped in human, mouse, rat and pufferfish, where applicable, and the structure of their cognate genes was derived using computer-based predictions, genomic comparisons and analysis of uncharacterized cDNA sequences from human and macaque.
The use of a comparative genomics approach resulted in the identification of eight cDNAs that correspond to previously uncharacterized genes in the human genome. The proteins encoded by these genes included a new member of the kinesin superfamily, a SET/MYND-domain protein, and six proteins for which no specific function could be predicted. Each gene was expressed primarily in testis, suggesting that they may play roles in the development and/or function of testicular cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: At the biomedical, regulatory, and public level, considerable concern surrounds the concept that inappropriate exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, especially during the prenatal and/or neonatal period, may disrupt normal reproductive tract development and adult function. The intent of this review was to 1. Describe some unique advantages of the hamster for perinatal endocrine disruptor (ED) studies, 2. Summarize the morphological and molecular consequences of exposure to the established perinatal ED, diethylstilbestrol, in the female and male hamster, 3. Present some new, histomorphological insight into the process of neonatal diethylstilbestrol-induced disruption in the hamster uterus, and 4. Introduce recent efforts and future plans to evaluate the potency and mechanism of action of other putative EDs in the hamster experimental system. Taken together, the findings indicate that the hamster represents a unique and sensitive in vivo system to probe the phenomenon of endocrine disruption. The spectrum of candidate endpoints includes developmental toxicity, neoplasia, and more subtle endpoints of reproductive dysfunction.
Experimental Biology and Medicine 11/2002; 227(9):709-23. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF beta) has been shown to regulate steroid production and DNA synthesis in rat Leydig cells. We have investigated the effects of TGF beta on the secretion of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and on the cytoskeleton of immature rat Leydig cells in vitro. TGF beta caused significant morphological changes in Leydig cells, which were accompanied by significant increases in secretion of fibronectin, laminin and collagen IV and rearrangement of actin filaments in TGF beta-treated cells. The cells cultured on plates pre-coated with fibronectin or fibronectin plus laminin and collagen IV, displayed morphological and cytoskeletal changes similar to those induced by TGF beta. Immunofluorescence localization studies revealed significantly higher fibronectin staining in Leydig cells in adult animals and in LH-treated immature animals than those in untreated immature animals. We conclude that TGF beta participates in the morphological differentiation of immature Leydig cells into adult Leydig cells in the rat testis by inducing the expression of ECM proteins.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 10/2002; 195(1-2):65-77. · 4.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FSH and IGF-I are both important determinants of testicular development and Sertoli cell function. The present studies were performed to determine the actions of FSH and IGF-I on PI3K/AKT protein kinase signaling in immature rat Sertoli cells. Primary cultures of rat Sertoli cells were prepared from 10-d-old rats. After 7 d in culture, Sertoli cells were treated with IGF-I, FSH, or IGF-I plus FSH. In some experiments cultures were treated with 8-bromo-cAMP (40 microM), (Bu)(2)cAMP (40 microM), or forskolin (10 microM). After treatments, cell lysates were prepared, and the activation state of AKT and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) was determined by Western blot analysis using phosphorylation site-specific antibodies. IGF-I had little effect on CREB phosphorylation, but rapidly increased the phosphorylation of AKT in a concentration-dependent manner. Maximal stimulatory effects of IGF-I were observed at 10-20 ng/ml. Treatment with FSH (0.9 IU/ml) or forskolin for 20 min increased CREB phosphorylation, but had little effect on AKT phosphorylation. However, FSH caused a concentration-dependent increase in IGF-I-induced AKT phosphorylation. Longer incubations (1-4 h) with FSH alone resulted in the elevation of AKT phosphorylation concomitant with an increased secretion of IGF-I and decreased production of IGF-binding protein-3, implicating endogenous IGF-I in the action of FSH on AKT phosphorylation. IGF-I- and FSH-dependent AKT phosphorylation was inhibited by LY29400 (10 microM), a PI3K inhibitor, and by IGF-binding protein 3, but not by a PKA inhibitor (H89). The present study demonstrates that immature rat Sertoli cells possess multiple protein kinase signaling cascades that are regulated by FSH. Furthermore, FSH amplifies IGF-I-mediated PI3K/AKT signaling in Sertoli cells. The results provide evidence for intracellular signaling mechanisms that may be required for the proliferation and differentiation of Sertoli cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leydig cells are located in the interstitium of the testis and function as the primary site for testosterone biosynthesis. Leydig cell devel- opment and steroidogenic function are dependent upon pituitary- derived LH. Circulating LH levels in prepubertal mammals are low but rise sharply during puberty, inducing terminal differentiation of immature Leydig cells into adult Leydig cells. The molecular mech- anisms involved in LH action on differentiation specific gene expres- sion and initiation of steroidogenic function in immature Leydig cells are poorly understood. Members of the CCAAT/enhancer-binding pro- tein (C/EBP) family of basic region/leucine zipper transcription fac- tors have previously been implicated as regulators of terminal dif- ferentiation in several cell types. In the present study we have investigated the possible involvement of C/EBP proteins in regulating LH-dependent gene expression in Leydig cells. We have detected the expression of one family member, C/EBPb, in Leydig cells. C/EBPb messenger RNA and protein levels were significantly higher in ma- ture adult Leydig cells than in immature cells, displaying an expres- sion pattern similar to those of other developmentally regulated genes in Leydig cells such as steroidogenesis acute regulatory (StAR) pro- tein and 3b-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. C/EBPb messenger RNA and protein levels also increased when immature Leydig cells were treated with either hCG, a functional analog of LH (hCG/LH), or (Bu)2cAMP. To confirm that hCG/LH and (Bu)2cAMP were acting specifically on Leydig cells, we studied their effects on C/EBPb ex- pression in an established Leydig cell line (MA-10). hCG and (Bu)2cAMP treatment also induced the expression of C/EBPb and StAR in MA-10 cells, coincident with stimulation of steroid production in these cells. (Bu)2cAMP treatment did not alter the subcellular localization of C/EBPb protein in MA-10 cells, suggesting that the increase is due to stimulation of C/EBPb expression. We conclude that expression of C/EBPb is regulated by hCG/LH in Leydig cells and that C/EBPb may play a significant role in LH-regulated Leydig cell dif- ferentiation and function. (Endocrinology 139: 272-279, 1998)