GHRH, besides its neuroendocrine action in controlling the release of GH from the pituitary, stimulates the growth of various cancers in vivo and in vitro by direct mechanism(s). However, the molecular mechanism that mediates these proliferative effects of GHRH in extrapituitary tissues remains poorly characterized. In the present study, we investigated whether the tumor suppressor p21/waf1 is involved in the mediation of the proliferative effects of GHRH in A549 human lung cancer epithelial cells. Exposure of A549 cells to the GHRH antagonist JMR-132 caused a significant inhibition in the rate of cell proliferation. In A549 cells, GHRH suppressed while JMR-132 increased the levels of p21 expression in a dose-dependent manner. This suggests that GHRH could regulate p21 levels. We then evaluated whether p21 is required in A549 cells for the regulation of cell proliferation by GHRH. To this end, we knocked-down p21 expression in A549 cells by siRNA and assessed the effects of antagonist JMR-132 on cell proliferation. We found that the loss of p21 expression abolished the anti-proliferative effects of JMR-132. Suppression of p21 expression by siRNA in human HT29 colon cancer cells and non-transformed mouse osteoblasts KS483 also blocked the anti-proliferative effects of JMR-132 suggesting that the regulation of cell proliferation by GHRH is p21 dependent. These results shed light on the molecular mechanism of action of GHRH antagonists in tumor tissues and suggest that the antineoplastic activity of GHRH antagonists could be considered for the treatment of cancers expressing p21.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology