Sex hormone modulation of cell growth and apoptosis of the human monocytic/macrophage cell line.

Maurizio Cutolo, Silvia Capellino, Paola Montagna, Paola Ghiorzo, Alberto Sulli, Barbara Villaggio

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Sex hormones seem to modulate the immune/inflammatory responses by different mechanisms in female and male rheumatoid arthritis patients. The effects of 17beta-oestradiol and of testosterone were tested on the cultured human monocytic/macrophage cell line (THP-1) activated with IFN-gamma in order to investigate their role in cell proliferation and apoptosis. Activated human THP-1 cells were cultured in the presence of 17beta-oestradiol and testosterone (final concentration, 10 nM). The evaluation of markers of cell proliferation included the NF-kappaB DNA-binding assay, the NF-kappaB inhibition complex, the proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression and the methyl-tetrazolium salt test. Apoptosis was detected by the annexin V-propidium assay and by the cleaved poly-ADP ribose polymerase expression. Specific methods included flow analysis cytometry scatter analysis, immunocytochemistry and western blot analysis. Cell growth inhibition and increased apoptosis were observed in testosterone-treated THP-1 cells. Increased poly-ADP ribose polymerase-cleaved expression and decreased proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression, as well as an increase of IkappaB-alpha and a decrease of the IkappaB-alpha phosphorylated form (ser 32), were found in testosterone-treated THP-1 cells. However, the NF-kappaB DNA binding was found increased in 17beta-oestradiol-treated THP-1 cells. The treatment with staurosporine (enhancer of apoptosis) induced decreased NF-kappaB DNA binding in all conditions, but particularly in testosterone-treated THP-1 cells. Treatment of THP-1 by sex hormones was found to influence cell proliferation and apoptosis. Androgens were found to increase the apoptosis, and oestrogens showed a protective trend on cell death--both acting as modulators of the NF-kappaB complex.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArthritis Research and Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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