Cell death & disease

The androgen receptor mediates antiapoptotic function in myometrial cells.

PMID 25032861


During pregnancy, myometrial phenotype is programmed into three characteristic stages referred to as the early proliferative, the midterm hypertrophic, and the late contractile stage. Increased myometrial growth in the early and midterm of pregnancy involves a complex process of cell proliferation, antiapoptosis and differentiation. We have previously demonstrated that the androgen receptor (AR) is required for myometrial cell proliferation by modulating IGF-1 signaling during early pregnancy. Here, we report that AR also exerts its antiapoptotic function in human myometrial cells. Enhanced AR expression protects, whereas AR silencing sensitizes myometrial cells to both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic stimuli. AR agonist inhibits, whereas AR antagonist induces myometrial cells to undergo apoptotic cell death. Gene microarray analysis confirms that the central functions of AR in myometrial cells are to regulate cell cycling and apoptosis through three major gene groups involving the epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling, RNA splicing and DNA repair processes. AR mediates its antiapoptotic function through two distinct pathways. In the receptor-dependent pathway, AR is required for the expression of several protein factors within the EGF signaling pathway. Through the PI3K/Akt pathway, AR enhances the expression of the antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1. In the ligand-dependent pathway, AR agonist triggers the activation of Src kinase, which in turn phosphorylates STAT3 to increase Mcl-1 expression. We conclude from these results that the AR signaling exerts antiapoptotic function in myometrial cells, further supporting its key role in programming of myometrial phenotype.

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R1881, ≥98% (HPLC)