OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the expression of activin betaA-subunit mRNA and the secretion of activin A in/from cultured GnRH-secreting neuronal cells cloned from human olfactory epithelium (FNC-B4), which showed biochemical and antigenic properties of GnRH-secreting neurons. DESIGN: FNC-B4 cells were cultured in basal and conditioned media. METHODS: Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RTR-PCR) evaluated the expression of activin betaA-subunit mRNA. By using a specific ELISA, dimeric activin A concentrations were measured in culture media, in the absence or presence of carvone or forskolin and with different doses of progesterone, GnRH, and estradiol. RESULTS: RT-PCR experiments performed on total RNA isolated from FNC-B4 cells, using specific primers for the activin betaA gene, showed a 787bp DNA band corresponding to the betaA gene. FNC-B4 cells secreted activin A, and the highest accumulation in conditioned medium was achieved after 3h culture: the addition of forskolin, but not of carvone, was able to stimulate the release of activin A from cultured neuronal cells (P<0.01). When progesterone or GnRH was added, a significant accumulation of activin A was observed (P<0.01), while estradiol administration did not significantly affect activin A secretion. CONCLUSION: To date, this is the only study, in an in vitro human model reporting, that GnRH-secreting neuronal cells expressed activin betaA-subunit mRNA, and released dimeric activin A in culture medium. The expression and secretion of activin suggests that in these cells activin A might exert its action by autocrine/paracrine mechanisms.
P Florio, GB Vannelli, S Luisi, T Barni, R Zonefrati, C Falaschi, G Bifulco, AR Genazzani and F Petraglia
C Crescioli, P Ferruzzi, A Caporali, M Scaltriti, S Bettuzzi, R Mancina, S Gelmini, M Serio, D Villari, GB Vannelli, E Colli, L Adorini and M Maggi
OBJECTIVE: Calcitriol analogues might represent an interesting new therapy for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). We here report the preclinical characterization of BXL-628, an analogue selected for an ongoing double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase II trial in BPH. DESIGN: Experiments with BXL-628 were carried out in human BPH cells and in the ventral prostate of intact and castrated rats. METHODS: BPH cell and rat prostate growth were evaluated along with morphological and biochemical hallmarks of apoptosis. RESULTS: BXL-628 inhibited human BPH cell proliferation and induced apoptosis even in the presence of androgens or growth factors. It also decreased prostate growth to an extent similar to finasteride, inducing DNA fragmentation and apoptosis, both in intact and in testosterone-supplemented castrated rats. Accordingly, BXL-628, like finasteride, increased the expression of clusterin, a prostatic atrophy marker. However, BXL-628 did not inhibit 5 alpha-reductase 1 and 2, did not bind to the androgen receptor (AR) in BPH homogenates and did not affect AR-coupled luciferase activity. In addition, BXL-628 did not affect rat pituitary and testis activity or calcemia. CONCLUSIONS: BXL-628 inhibited in vitro and in vivo prostate cell proliferation, and therefore might represent a novel, interesting option for the treatment of BPH.