Androgen and glucocorticoid regulation of androgen receptor cDNA expression

K. L. Burnstein, C. A. Maiorino, J. L. Dai, D. J. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Androgen receptor (AR) levels are regulated by androgens, other steroids and non-steroidal hormones via complex, tissue-specific processes. Since alterations in receptor levels may influence cellular sensitivity to androgens, understanding AR regulation is of fundamental and potentially therapeutic significance. In most target tissues and AR-containing cell lines, AR mRNA is down-regulated in response to androgens. We have reconstituted this androgen-mediated down-regulation of AR mRNA in COS 1 cells transfected with a human AR cDNA under the control of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. The sequences mediating receptor mRNA down-regulation are represented within the AR cDNA and not within the CMV promoter. Androgenic down-regulation of AR cDNA expression was time- and dose-dependent, resembling native AR mRNA down-regulation. In addition, androgenic regulation of the receptor cDNA was not dependent on protein synthesis suggesting that AR and/or another pre-existing protein(s) is involved in this process. In COS 1 cells co-transfected with androgen and glucocorticoid receptor cDNAs, dexamethasone mimicked the action of androgen in down-regulating AR mRNA. This response depended on glucocorticoid receptors. Androgen had little effect on steady-state levels of AR protein consistent with reports that androgen down-regulates AR mRNA but increases AR protein half-life (Kemppainen et al. (1992) J. Biol. Chem. 267, 968-974; Zhou et al. (1995) Mol. Endocrinol. 9, 208-218). However, glucocorticoids decreased AR protein levels in cells that co-expressed androgen and glucocorticoid receptors. These results indicate that sequences represented in the AR cDNA mediate AR mRNA down-regulation by both androgens and glucocorticoids. Inhibition of AR mRNA and protein by glucocorticoids suggests that these steroids may modulate androgen action in tissues, such as mammary gland and prostate, which express both androgen and glucocorticoid receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-186
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 29 1995


  • Androgen receptor (human)
  • Autoregulation
  • Down-regulation
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Methyltrienolone (R1881)
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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