[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although androgen excess is considered detrimental to women's health and fertility, global and ovarian granulosa cell-specific androgen-receptor (AR) knockout mouse models have been used to show that androgen actions through ARs are actually necessary for normal ovarian function and female fertility. Here we describe two AR-mediated pathways in granulosa cells that regulate ovarian follicular development and therefore female fertility. First, we show that androgens attenuate follicular atresia through nuclear and extranuclear signaling pathways by enhancing expression of the microRNA (miR) miR-125b, which in turn suppresses proapoptotic protein expression. Second, we demonstrate that, independent of transcription, androgens enhance follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) receptor expression, which then augments FSH-mediated follicle growth and development. Interestingly, we find that the scaffold molecule paxillin regulates both processes, making it a critical regulator of AR actions in the ovary. Finally, we report that low doses of exogenous androgens enhance gonadotropin-induced ovulation in mice, further demonstrating the critical role that androgens play in follicular development and fertility. These data may explain reported positive effects of androgens on ovulation rates in women with diminished ovarian reserve. Furthermore, this study demonstrates mechanisms that might contribute to the unregulated follicle growth seen in diseases of excess androgens such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2014; · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare disease characterized by proliferation of abnormal smooth-muscle cells in the lungs, leading to functional loss and sometimes lung transplantation. While the origin of LAM cells is unknown, several features of LAM provide clues. First, LAM cells contain inactivating mutations in genes encoding Tsc1 or Tsc2, proteins that limit mTORC1 activity. Second, LAM tumors recur after lung transplantation, suggesting a metastatic pathogenesis. Third, LAM is found almost exclusively in women. Finally, LAM shares features with uterine leiomyomas, benign tumors of myometrial cells. From these observations, we proposed that LAM cells might originate from uterine leiomyomas containing Tsc mutations. To test our hypothesis, and to develop mouse models for leiomyoma and LAM, we targeted Tsc2 deletion primarily in uterine cells. In fact, nearly 100% of uteri from uterine-specific Tsc2 knockout mice developed myometrial proliferation and uterine leiomyomas by 12 and 24 weeks, respectively. Myometrial proliferation and mTORC1/S6 activity were abrogated by the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin or by elimination of sex steroid production through ovariectomy or aromatase inhibition. In ovariectomized Tsc2 null mice, mTORC1/S6 activity and myometrial growth were restored by estrogen but not progesterone. Thus, even without Tsc2, estrogen appears to be required for myometrial mTORC1/S6 signaling and proliferation. Finally, we found Tsc2 null myometrial tumors in lungs of older Tsc2 uterine-specific knockout females, suggesting that lung LAM-like myometrial lesions may indeed originate from the uterus. This mouse model may improve our understanding of LAM and leiomyomas, and might lead to novel therapeutic strategies for both diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Histologically, malignant struma ovarii metastasizes rarely, and only a few cases reported bone metastasis. Here, we describe 2 cases of biologically malignant struma ovarii with pelvic bone metastasis. Case 1 is a 22-year-old female who was found to have a large left ovarian mass during routine prenatal ultrasound. Papillary thyroid cancer arising in struma ovarii was identified after laparoscopic salpingo-oophorectomy. After total thyroidectomy, radioactive iodine whole-body scan revealed extrathyroidal iodine uptake in left anterior pelvis. Subsequent I-131 treatment resolved the pelvic metastasis. Case 2 is a 49-year-old female who was diagnosed with malignant struma ovarii in 1996 and presented in 2007 with pelvic recurrence and extensive left hip metastasis. Treatment with resection of the pelvic tumor, total thyroidectomy, and multiple I-131 ablation led to eventual resolution of the abdominal and left hip foci. In conclusion, we present 2 rare cases of malignant struma ovarii, both with metastasis to the pelvic bone. This report makes pelvic bone the most frequent site for bone metastasis in malignant struma ovarii. It also emphasizes the importance of total thyroidectomy in allowing identification and treatment of bony metastasis with radioactive iodine.
Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation 02/2013; · 1.10 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steroid production by all three major steroidogenic tissues, the adrenals, testes, and ovaries, is critical for survival and reproduction of all animals. As such, the pathways that regulate steroidogenesis are conserved between these tissues, from the steroidogenic enzymes and cofactors that synthesize steroids, to the intracellular signaling molecules and Gα(s)-coupled receptors that mediate the activity of these enzymes. Recent work has revealed another important conserved pathway in steroidogenesis: crosstalk between membrane G protein-coupled receptors and membrane receptor tyrosine kinases. Luteinizing hormone (LH) or adrencorticotropic hormone (ACTH) binding to their cognate Gα(s)-coupled membrane receptors in the gonads and adrenals, respectively, leads to cAMP-induced trans-activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor, followed by activation of Akt and Erk signaling. These kinase signals then activate Steroidogenic Acute Regulatory (StAR) protein, which promotes steroid production. Inhibition of this pathway abrogates both LH- and ACTH-induced steroidogenesis. Interestingly, LH-induced transactivation of the EGF receptor in the ovary uniquely requires matrix metalloproteinase-mediated release of EGF receptor ligands, and inhibition of these proteases blocks LH-induced steroidogenesis. Given this unique need for matrix metalloproteinases in ovarian steroidogenesis, MMP inhibition may prove to be useful when treating diseases of excess ovarian steroid production, such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a rare disease found almost exclusively in women that is characterized by neoplastic growth of atypical smooth muscle-like cells in the lung, destruction of lung parenchyma, and obstruction of lymphatics. These processes lead to the formation of lung cysts, rupture of which results in spontaneous pneumothorax. Progression of LAM often results in loss of pulmonary function and death. LAM affects predominantly women of childbearing age and is exacerbated by pregnancy. The only proven treatment for LAM is lung transplantation, and even then LAM cells will often return to the transplanted lung. However, methodical and targeted approaches toward understanding LAM pathophysiology have led to the discovery of new potential therapeutic avenues. For example, the mutational inactivation of tumor suppressor complex genes tuberous sclerosis complex 1 or tuberous sclerosis complex 2 has been shown to be present in lung LAM cells. These mutations occur sporadically or in association with inherited hamartoma syndrome tuberous sclerosis (TSC). Since TSC genes function as negative regulators of the mammalian target of rapamycin, a major controller of cell growth, metabolism, and survival, rapamycin analogs have recently been used to treat LAM patients with promising results. Similarly, studies focusing on the importance of estrogen in LAM progression have suggested that anti-estrogen therapy might prove to be an alternative means of treating LAM. This minireview summarizes recent progress in understanding LAM pathophysiology, including the latest preclinical and clinical studies, and insights regarding the role of hormones in LAM.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In prostate cancer, the signals that drive cell proliferation change as tumors progress from castration-sensitive (androgen-dominant) to castration-resistant states. While the mechanisms underlying this change remain uncertain, characterization of common signaling components that regulate both stages of prostate cancer proliferation is important for developing effective treatment strategies. Here, we demonstrate that paxillin, a known cytoplasmic adaptor protein, regulates both androgen- and EGF-induced nuclear signaling. We show that androgen and EGF promoted MAPK-dependent phosphorylation of paxillin, resulting in nuclear translocation of paxillin. We found nuclear paxillin could then associate with androgen-stimulated androgen receptor (AR). This complex bound AR-sensitive promoters, retaining AR within the nucleus and regulating AR-mediated transcription. Nuclear paxillin also complexed with ERK and ELK1, mediating c-FOS and cyclin D1 expression; this was followed by proliferation. Thus, paxillin is a liaison between extranuclear MAPK signaling and nuclear transcription in response to androgens and growth factors, making it a potential regulator of both castration-sensitive and castration-resistant prostate cancer. Accordingly, paxillin was required for normal growth of human prostate cancer cell xenografts, and its expression was elevated in human prostate cancer tissue microarrays. Paxillin is therefore a potential biomarker for prostate cancer proliferation and a possible therapeutic target for prostate cancer treatment.
The Journal of clinical investigation 06/2012; 122(7):2469-81. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in supporting cancer cells particularly as they disengage from limitations on their growth and motility imposed by surrounding nonreactive stromal cells. We show here that stromal-derived androgenic precursors are metabolized by DU145 human prostate cancer (PCa) cells to generate ligands for estrogen receptor-β, which act to limit their motility through transcriptional regulation of E-cadherin. Although primary human PCa-associated fibroblasts and the human WPMY-1-reactive prostate stromal cell line maintain this inherent estrogen receptor (ER)β-dependent motility inhibitor activity, they are subverted by TGF-β1 pro-oxidant signals derived from cocultured DU145 PCa cells. Specifically, stromal-produced H(2)O(2), which requires Cox-2, acts as a second paracrine factor to inhibit ERβ activity in adjacent DU145 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis reveals that ERβ recruitment to the E-cadherin promoter is inhibited when H(2)O(2) is present. Both neutralization of H(2)O(2) with catalase and prevention of its production by silencing Cox-2 expression in stromal cells restore the motility-suppression activity of stromal-derived ERβ ligand precursors. These data suggest that reactive stromal cells may still have a capacity to limit cancer cell motility through a local endocrine network but must be protected from pro-oxidant signals triggered by cancer cell-derived TGF-β1 to exhibit this cancer-suppressive function.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of 17β-estradiol (E2) to regulate the proliferation of prostate cancer (PCa) cells in the absence of androgen is poorly understood. Here, we show the predominant estrogen receptor (ER) isoform expressed in PCa specimens and cell lines is ERβ. Our data indicate that E2 induces the formation of a complex between androgen receptor (AR), ERβ, and a proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich cofactor protein 1 (PELP1) in PCa cells. This protein complex is formed on AR's cognate DNA-responsive elements on the promoter in response to E2. Formation of this complex enables the transcription of AR-responsive genes in response to E2. Knockdown of PELP1, AR, or ERβ blocks the assembly of this complex, blocks E2-induced genomic activation of AR-regulated genes, and blocks E2-stimulated proliferation of PCa cells. Overall, this study shows that PELP1 may enable E2-induced AR signaling by forming a protein complex between AR, ERβ, and PELP1 on the DNA, leading to the proliferation of PCa cells in the absence of androgen. PELP1 may bridge the signal between E2 bound to ERβ and AR and thus allow for cross talk between these steroid receptors. These data suggest a novel mechanism of AR activation in the absence of androgens in PCa cells. Our data indicate that disruption of the complex between AR and PELP1 may be a viable therapeutic strategy in advanced PCa.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The participation of extranuclear steroid receptor signaling in organ physiology and the impact for pathobiology has increasingly been demonstrated. Important functions of membrane estrogen receptors in the cardiovascular system demonstrate new mechanisms of rapid steroid signaling to gene regulation, preventing cardiovascular disease and maintaining healthy arterial function. In cancer cells, kinase signaling initiated by extranuclear estrogen, progesterone, and androgen receptors modulates transcriptional events in the nucleus, which in turn regulate proliferation, migration, and invasion. Important mediators of cross talk between cytoplasmic and nuclear steroid receptor signaling are the proline-, glutamic acid-, and leucine-rich protein-1 and paxillin proteins, both of which modulate membrane and nuclear receptor pool signaling to promote a variety of cell biological functions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous work has demonstrated that cross talk between G protein-coupled LH receptors and epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) is essential for LH-induced steroid production in ovarian follicles and testicular Leydig cells. Here we demonstrate that G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)/EGFR cross talk is also required for ACTH-induced steroidogenesis in Y1 adrenal cells. Moreover, we confirm that the signaling pathway from GPCR to Erk activation is conserved in all three steroidogenic tissues. ACTH or LH induces Gα(s), resulting in elevated cAMP and protein kinase A activation. cAMP/protein kinase A then triggers EGFR trans-activation, which promotes Erk signaling and subsequent steroidogenesis. Interestingly, although EGFR trans-activation is conserved in all three tissues, the specific mechanisms regulating this receptor cross talk differ. ACTH and LH trigger matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-mediated release of EGFR ligands in adrenal and gonadal cells, respectively. However, this extracellular, ligand-dependent EGFR transactivation is required only for LH-induced steroidogenesis in ovarian follicles, reflecting the unique requirement of cell-cell cross talk for ovarian steroid production. Furthermore, MMP2 and MMP9 appear to regulate LH-induced steroidogenesis in mouse ovarian follicles, because a specific MMP2/9 inhibitor as well as the MMP2/9 inhibitor doxycycline suppress LH-induced follicular steroid production in vitro. Notably, although EGFR or MMP inhibition minimally affects estrous cycling in female mice, they attenuate ovarian steroidogenesis in response to LHR overstimulation in vivo. These results may have implications with regard to EGFR inhibitor use in various cancers as well as in polycystic ovarian syndrome, where excess LH-driven ovarian androgen production might be controlled by MMP2/9 inhibition.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oogenesis and primordial follicle formation are tightly linked processes, requiring organized and precisely timed communication between somatic and germ cells. Deviations in ovarian cell cross talk, or aberrant gene expression within one of the cell populations, can lead to follicle loss or dysfunction, resulting in infertility. Expression of GATA-like protein-1 (GLP-1) in ovarian somatic cells is required for normal fertility in female mice, as GLP-1 deficiency leads to the absence of oocytes at birth. However, the timing and nature of this germ cell loss is not well understood. In this study, we characterize the embryonic germ cell loss in GLP-1 null mice. Quantitative PCR demonstrates that ovarian Glp-1 mRNA is expressed in a bimodal pattern during embryogenesis, peaking at E13.5-14.5 and again at birth. In contrast, adult ovaries express low but detectable levels of Glp-1 mRNA. Analysis of developing GLP-1 null mouse ovaries shows that germ cells are appropriately specified and migrate normally to nascent gonads. Upon arrival at the gonad, precocious loss of germ cells begins at around E13.5. This loss is completed by birth and is accompanied by defects in the expression of genes associated with meiotic entry. Interestingly, somatic pregranulosa cells still form basement membranes surrounding germ line cysts and express mRNA encoding paracrine signaling molecules that communicate with oocytes, albeit at lower levels than normal. Together, these data imply that the somatic cell protein GLP-1 is not necessary for many pregranulosa cell functions but is required for germ cell survival.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Steroids are key factors in a myriad of mammalian biological systems, including the brain, kidney, heart, bones, and gonads. While alternative potential steroid receptors have been described, the majority of biologically relevant steroid responses appear to be mediated by classical steroid receptors that are located in all parts of the cell, from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. Interestingly, these classical steroid receptors modulate different signals depending upon their location. For example, receptors in the plasma membrane interact with membrane signaling molecules, including G proteins and kinases. In contrast, receptors in the nucleus interact with nuclear signaling molecules, including transcriptional co-regulators. These extranuclear and intranuclear signals function together in an integrated fashion to regulate important biological functions. While most studies on extranuclear steroid signaling have focused on estrogens, recent work has demonstrated that nongenomic androgen signaling is equally important and that these two steroids modulate similar signaling pathways. In fact, by taking advantage of a simple model system whereby a physiologically relevant androgen-mediated process is regulated completely independent of transcription (Xenopus laevis oocyte maturation), many novel and conserved concepts in nongenomic steroid signaling have been uncovered and characterized.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hyperandrogenism is known to be associated with polycystic ovarian (or ovary) syndrome. In this disease, ovarian follicles proliferate in a dysregulated fashion - in part due to excess androgen signaling within the ovary itself - leading to anovulation and infertility. Intriguingly, while excess androgen signaling in the ovary promotes unregulated follicle growth, a certain level of androgen signaling appears to be required for normal follicular development. In fact, deficient androgen signaling in the ovary might lead to premature ovarian failure, another cause of female infertility. This article discusses various in vitro and animal models being used to study the pathophysiology of hyper- and hypoandrogenism, focusing on the role of androgens and androgen receptor-mediated actions in normal and pathologic ovarian physiology.
Expert Review of Obstetrics & Gynecology 12/2010; 6(1):23-36.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although transcriptional effects of androgens have been extensively studied, mechanisms regulating transcription-independent (nongenomic) androgen actions are poorly understood. Previously, we have shown that paxillin, a multidomain adaptor protein, is a critical regulator of testosterone-induced MAPK-signaling during Xenopus oocyte maturation. Here we examine the nongenomic effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in prostate cancer cells, focusing on how paxillin mediates Erk signaling and downstream physiologic actions. We show that in LnCAP cells DHT functions as a growth factor that indirectly activates the EGF-receptor (EGFR) via androgen receptor binding and matrix metalloproteinase-mediated release of EGFR ligands. Interestingly, siRNA-mediated knockdown of paxillin expression in androgen-dependent LnCAP cells as well as in androgen-independent PC3 cells abrogates DHT- and/or EGF-induced Erk signaling. Furthermore, EGFR-induced Erk activation requires Src-mediated phosphorylation of paxillin on tyrosines 31/118. In contrast, paxillin is not required for PKC-induced Erk signaling. However, Erk-mediated phosphorylation of paxillin on serines 83/126/130 is still needed for both EGFR and PKC-mediated cellular proliferation. Thus, paxillin serves as a specific upstream regulator of Erk in response to receptor-tyrosine kinase signaling but as a general regulator of downstream Erk actions regardless of agonist. Importantly, Erk-mediated serine phosphorylation of paxillin is also required for DHT-induced prostate-specific antigen mRNA expression in LnCAP cells as well as EGF-induced cyclin D1 mRNA expression in PC3 cells, suggesting that paxillin may regulate prostate cancer proliferation by serving as a liaison between extra-nuclear kinase signaling and intra-nuclear transcriptional signals. Thus, paxillin may prove to be a novel diagnostic or therapeutic target in prostate cancer.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2010; 285(37):28787-95. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The physiological significance of androgens in female reproduction was unclear until female mice with global knockout of androgen receptor (AR) expression were found to have reduced fertility with abnormal ovarian function. However, because ARs are expressed in a myriad of reproductive tissues, including the hypothalamus, pituitary, and various ovarian cells, the role of tissue-specific ARs in regulating female fertility remained unknown. To examine the importance of ovarian ARs in female reproduction, we generated granulosa cell (GC)- and oocyte-specific AR-knockout (ARKO) mice by crossing AR-flox mice with MisRIIcre (GC-specific) or growth differentiation factor growth differentiation factor-9cre (oocyte-specific) mice. Relative to heterozygous and wild-type mice, GC-specific ARKO mice had premature ovarian failure and were subfertile, with longer estrous cycles and fewer ovulated oocytes. In addition, ovaries from GC-specific knockout mice contained more preantral and atretic follicles, with fewer antral follicles and corpus lutea. Finally, in vitro growth of follicles from GC-specific AR-null mice was slower than follicles from wild-type animals. In contrast to GC-specific AR-null mice, fertility, estrous cycles, and ovarian morphology of oocyte-specific ARKO mice were normal, although androgens no longer promoted oocyte maturation in these animals. Together, our data indicate that nearly all reproductive phenotypes observed in global ARKO mice can be explained by the lack of AR expression in GCs. These GC-specific ARs appear to promote preantral follicle growth and prevent follicular atresia; thus they are essential for normal follicular development and fertility.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diversity of membrane-initiated progesterone actions has made characterization and establishment of its biological importance a complicated endeavor. A new study by Zuo and colleagues shows that progesterone via endogenous membrane progesterone receptor-alpha acts as a negative regulator of proliferation and epithelial to mesenchymal transition in a breast cancer cell line. These progesterone-mediated actions appear to be regulated through epidermal growth factor receptor and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling localized in caveolae. Moreover, the study shows expression of membrane progesterone receptor-alpha in benign and malignant breast cancer tissues. These data bring forth novel concepts with regard to progesterone actions in the breast; however, further work is warranted to fully characterize the physiologic actions of extra-nuclear progesterone signaling in the breast.
Breast cancer research: BCR 01/2010; 12(3):109. · 5.87 Impact Factor