Orally applied doxazosin disturbed testosterone homeostasis and changed the transcriptional profile of steroidogenic machinery, cAMP/cGMP signalling and adrenergic receptors in Leydig cells of adult rats.

PMID 23413145


Doxazosin (Doxa) is an α1-selective adrenergic receptor (ADR) antagonist widely used, alone or in combination, to treat high blood pressure, benign prostatic hyperplasia symptoms, and recently has been suggested as a potential drug for prostate cancer prevention/treatment. This study was designed to evaluate the effect of in vivo Doxa po-application, in clinically relevant dose, on: (i) steroidogenic machinery homeostasis; (ii) cAMP/cGMP signalling; (iii) transcription profile of ADR in Leydig cells of adult rats. The results showed that po-application of Doxa for once (1×Doxa), or for two (2×Doxa) or 10 (10×Doxa) consecutive days significantly disturbed steroidogenic machinery homeostasis in Leydig cells. Doxa po-application significantly decreased circulating luteinizing hormone and androgens levels. The level of androgens in testicular interstitial fluid and that extracted from testes obtained from 1×Doxa/2×Doxa rats decreased, although it remained unchanged in 10×Doxa rats. Similarly, the ex vivo basal androgen production followed in testes isolated from 1×Doxa/2×Doxa rats decreased, while remained unchanged in 10×Doxa rats. Differently, ex vivo testosterone production and steroidogenic capacity of Leydig cells isolated from 1×Doxa/2×Doxa rats was stimulated, while 10×Doxa had opposite effect. In the same cells, cAMP content/release showed similar stimulatory effect, but back to control level in Leydig cells of 10×Doxa. 1×Doxa/2×Doxa decreased transcripts for cAMP specific phosphodiesterases Pde7b/Pde8b, whereas 10×Doxa increased Pde4d. All types of treatment reduced the expression of genes encoding protein kinase A (PRKA) regulatory subunit (Prkar2b), whereas only 10×Doxa stimulated catalytic subunit (Prkaca). Doxa application more affected cGMP signalling: stimulated transcription of constitutive nitric oxide synthases (Nos1, Nos3) in time-dependent manner, whereas reduced inducible Nos2. 10×Doxa increased guanylyl cyclase 1 transcript and PRKG1 protein in Leydig cells. Orally applied Doxa significantly disturbed the transcriptional 'signature' of steroidogenic machinery, cAMP/cGMP signalling and ADRs and β-ADRs kinases in Leydig cells, thus giving new molecular insights into the role of cAMP/cGMP/adrenalin signalling in Leydig cells homeostasis.

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Doxazosin mesylate, ≥97% (HPLC), powder
C23H25N5O5 · CH3SO3H