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D Marcantonio, LE Chalifour, MA Alaoui-Jamali And H T Huynh, MA Alaoui-Jamali, and HT Huynh

Steroid-sensitive gene-1 (SSG1) is a novel gene we cloned, found regulated by 17beta-estradiol in the rat uterus and mammary gland, and over-expressed in 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced rat mammary tumors. We show here that SSG1 mRNA and protein expression are regulated by androgens in the rat ventral prostate. Increases in SSG1 mRNA levels were detected by Northern blotting after 24 h and reached a 27-fold peak 96 h following castration, relative to SSG1 mRNA expression in sham-operated rats. Dihydrotestosterone or testosterone supplementation of castrated rats prevented this rise in SSG1 mRNA. In contrast with SSG1 mRNA expression, SSG1 protein was decreased 16-fold 2 weeks following castration but was at control levels in the prostates of castrated rats receiving dihydrotestosterone or testosterone. Although SSG1 is regulated by androgens in vivo, treatment of LnCap cells with dihydrotestosterone, cyproterone acetate or flutamide did not result in the regulation of SSG1 protein levels in vitro. Immunofluorescence studies show that SSG1 is mainly expressed in prostatic smooth muscle cells. These results indicate that SSG1 is an androgen-regulated gene that is expressed in the smooth muscle component of the rat ventral prostate in vivo.

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HT Huynh, L Alpert, DW Laird, G Batist, L Chalifour, and MA Alaoui-Jamali

Androgens play an important role in prostate gland development and function, and have been implicated in prostate carcinogenesis. We report the regulation of the gap junctional intercellular communication gene connexin 43 (Cx43) by androgens in the prostate gland. In rat ventral prostate tissue, only trace levels of Cx43 mRNA were detected. Castration, however, resulted in a high increase in Cx43 mRNA and protein. Cx32 was unchanged. Castration-induced Cx43 mRNA and protein were abolished by administration of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Following castration, prostate weights were approximately 16% of sham-treated controls. However, DHT replacement resulted in prostate weights which were not different from sham-treated controls. Under similar castration conditions, Cx43 induction coincided with pronounced apoptosis in the prostate gland cells, and DHT prevented the induction of apoptosis. Given the physiological role of gap junctions and androgens in the regulation of prostate tissue homeostasis, our observations are relevant to the understanding of androgen-dependent prostate carcinogenesis.