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Untargeted LC-MS-based metabonomics revealed that aristolochic acid I induces testicular toxicity by inhibiting amino acids metabolism, glucose metabolism, β-oxidation of fatty acids and the TCA cycle in male mice.

As the main toxic component of aristolochic acid, aristolochic acid I (AAI) is primarily found in Aristolochiaceae plants such as Aristolochia, Aristolochia fangchi and Caulis aristolochiae manshuriensis. AAI has been proven to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and nephrotoxic. Although the role of AAI in testicular toxicity has been reported, its mechanism of action is unknown. Using metabonomics and molecular biology techniques, we tried to identify the differential endogenous metabolites of AAI that may affect the changes in testicular function in mice, map the network of metabolic pathways, and systematically reveal the molecular mechanism of AAI-induced testicular toxicity. We found that AAI inhibited amino acid metabolism in mouse testicular cells, impeded the uptake and oxidative decomposition of fatty acids, prevented normal glucose uptake by testicular cells, which inhibited glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, affected the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which impaired the ATP energy supply, decreased the number of spermatogenic cells and sperm in the testes, induced changes in the mitochondrial state of spermatogonial cells, and ultimately led to physiological and pathological changes in the testes. AAI also regulated the testicular physiological activity by regulating the androgen receptor and hormone levels. This study used metabonomics and other methods to elucidate the mechanism of AAI-induced testicular toxicity from a new angle.

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Expressional regulation of gonadotropin receptor genes and androgen receptor genes in the eel testis.

Receptors for follicle-stimulating hormone (Fshr), luteinizing hormone (Lhcgr1 and Lhcgr2) and androgens (Ara and Arb) transduce the hormonal signals that co-ordinate coordinate spermatogenesis, but the factors that regulate the abundance of these transducers in fish testes remain little-understood. To mend this paucity of information, we first determined changes in transcript abundance for these receptors (fshr, lhcgr1, ara and arb) during spermatogenesis induced by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection in the eel, Anguilla australis. We related our findings to testicular production of the fish androgen, 11-ketotestosterone (11-KT), and to the levels of the transcripts encoding steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (star) and 11β-hydroxylase (cyp11b), and subsequently evaluated the effects of hCG or 11-KT on mRNA levels of these target genes in vitro. Testicular 11-KT production was greatly increased by hCG treatment, both in vivo and in vitro, and associated with up-regulation of star and cyp11b transcripts. In situ hybridization indicated that testicular fshr mRNA levels were higher in the early stages of hCG-induced spermatogenesis, while lhcgr1 transcripts were most abundant later, once spermatids were observed. In vitro experiments further showed that hCG and its steroidal mediator 11-KT significantly increased fshr transcript abundance. These data provide new angles on the interactions between gonadotropin and androgen signaling during early spermatogenesis. Increases in levels of 11-KT following hCG injection elevated testicular fshr mRNA levels augmenting Fsh sensitivity in the testis. This evidence is suggestive of a positive feedback loop between gonadotropins and 11-KT that may be key to regulating early spermatogenesis in fish.

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Interactions between Germline and Somatic Mutated Genes in Aggressive Prostate Cancer.

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common diagnosed malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in the USA. Advances in high-throughput genotyping and next generation sequencing technologies have enabled discovery of germline genetic susceptibility variants and somatic mutations acquired during tumor formation. Emerging evidence indicates that germline variations may interact with somatic events in carcinogenesis. However, the possible oncogenic interactions and cooperation between germline and somatic variation and their role in aggressive PCa remain largely unexplored. Here we investigated the possible oncogenic interactions and cooperation between genes containing germline variation from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and genes containing somatic mutations from tumor genomes of 305 men with aggressive tumors and 52 control samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Network and pathway analysis were performed to identify molecular networks and biological pathways enriched for germline and somatic mutations. The analysis revealed 90 functionally related genes containing both germline and somatic mutations. Transcriptome analysis revealed a 61-gene signature containing both germline and somatic mutations. Network analysis revealed molecular networks of functionally related genes and biological pathways including P53, STAT3, NKX3-1, KLK3, and Androgen receptor signaling pathways enriched for germline and somatic mutations. The results show that integrative analysis is a powerful approach to uncovering the possible oncogenic interactions and cooperation between germline and somatic mutations and understanding the broader biological context in which they operate in aggressive PCa.

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A novel CRISPR-engineered prostate cancer cell line defines the AR-V transcriptome and identifies PARP inhibitor sensitivities.

Resistance to androgen receptor (AR)-targeted therapies in prostate cancer (PC) is a major clinical problem. A key mechanism of treatment resistance in advanced PC is the generation of alternatively spliced forms of the AR termed AR variants (AR-Vs) that are refractory to targeted agents and drive tumour progression. Our understanding of how AR-Vs function is limited due to difficulties in distinguishing their discriminate activities from full-length AR (FL-AR). Here we report the development of a novel CRISPR-derived cell line which is a derivative of CWR22Rv1 cells, called CWR22Rv1-AR-EK, that has lost expression of FL-AR, but retains all endogenous AR-Vs. From this, we show that AR-Vs act unhindered by loss of FL-AR to drive cell growth and expression of androgenic genes. Global transcriptomics demonstrate that AR-Vs drive expression of a cohort of DNA damage response genes and depletion of AR-Vs sensitises cells to ionising radiation. Moreover, we demonstrate that AR-Vs interact with PARP1 and PARP2 and are dependent upon their catalytic function for transcriptional activation. Importantly, PARP blockade compromises expression of AR-V-target genes and reduces growth of CRPC cell lines suggesting a synthetic lethality relationship between AR-Vs and PARP, advocating the use of PARP inhibitors in AR-V positive PC.

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Combination of androgen receptor inhibitor and cisplatin, an effective treatment strategy for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder.

The role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in bladder cancer (BCa) is not fully characterized. This study aimed to delineate the role of AR signaling in BCa and to determine whether the combination of AR inhibitor, Enzalutamide (Enz), and Cisplatin (Cis) efficiently inhibit the growth of BCa cells.

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Non-genomic mechanisms mediate androgen-induced PSD95 expression.

The non-genomic actions of androgen-induced synaptic plasticity have been extensively studied. However, the underlying mechanisms remain controversial. We recently found that testosterone-fetal bovine serum albumin (T-BSA), a cell membrane-impermeable complex, led to a rapid increase in the postsynaptic density 95 (PSD95) protein level through a transcription-independent mechanism in mouse hippocampal HT22 cells. Using T-BSA conjugated FITC, we verified the presence of membrane androgen-binding sites. Here, we show that T-BSA-induced PSD95 expression is mediated by G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-zinc transporter ZIP9 (SLC39A9), one of the androgen membrane binding sites, rather than the membrane-localized androgen receptor. Furthermore, we found that T-BSA induced an interaction between ZIP9 and Gnα11 that lead to the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 MAPK and eIF4E, which are critical in the mRNA translation process. The PSD95 and p-eIF4E expression decreased when knockdown of ZIP9 or Gnα11 expression or inhibition of Erk1/2 activation. Taken together, these findings suggest that ZIP9 mediates the non-genomic action of androgen on synaptic protein PSD95 synthesis through the Gnα11/Erk1/2/eIF4E pathway in HT22 cells. This novel mechanism provides a theoretical basis to understand the neuroprotective mechanism of androgen.

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Imaging features of triple-negative breast cancers according to androgen receptor status.

Different molecular subtypes of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) have previously been identified through analysis of gene expression profiles. The luminal androgen receptor (LAR) subtype has been shown to have a lower rate of pathologic complete response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy than other TNBC subtypes. The purpose of this study was to determine if the imaging features of TNBCs differ by AR (androgen receptor) status, which is a surrogate immunohistochemical (IHC) marker for the chemoresistant LAR subtype of TNBC.

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Androgen receptor in breast cancer: a wolf in sheep's clothing? A lesson from prostate cancer.

The possibility that a receptor for androgen is expressed in Breast Cancer (BC) is fascinating given that the tumor is predominantly estrogen-dependent. The androgen receptor (AR) is emerging as a new marker and a potential new therapeutic target in the treatment of BC patients. The recent availability of selective AR inhibitors (e.g. bicalutamide, enzalutamide, apalutamide) approved for the treatment of prostate cancer has opened up the possibility to use them in BC patients whose tumors express AR. However, AR appears to have various functions according to the BC subtype, e.g. ER-positive or triple negative BC and the patient prognosis is different on the basis of the presence or absence of estrogen and progesterone receptors. Moreover, a different AR expression was seen according to the various ethnicities. Of note, in population at low economical income, the availability of anti-AR compounds at low cost could open the possibility to treat AR-positive triple negative BC that are highly present in these populations. Up to now, AR detection is not routinely performed in BC. The standardization of AR detection methods could render AR an easily detectable marker in primary BC and metastatic samples. Nevertheless, the overall concordance of 60% of AR expression in primary tumor and metastasis implies that a clinician who need the AR value to give anti-AR therapy should have the data on both the tumor materials. Following the comprehensive studies on prostate cancer the possibility to test AR on liquid biopsies suggest the use of this biomarker for a real-time disease monitoring. Finally, considering the possibility to treat patients with immune checkpoint inhibitors there is the need to know the relation between microenvironment and AR in BC.

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Upregulation of MicroRNA-21 promotes tumorigenesis of prostate cancer cells by targeting KLF5.

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second frequently newly diagnosed cancer in men. Androgen deprivation therapy has been widely used to inhibit PCa growth but eventually fails in many patients. Androgen receptor and its downstream molecules like microRNAs could be promising therapeutic targets. We aimed to investigate the involvement of miR-21 in PCa tumorigenesis. We found that miR-21 was an unfavorable factor and correlated positively with tumor grade in PCa patients from TCGA database. MiR-21 was more highly expressed in androgen-independent PCa cells than in androgen-dependent PCa cells. Overexpression of miR-21 promoted androgen-dependent and -independent PCa cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and resistance to apoptosis. Furthermore, increased miR-21 expression promoted mouse xenograft growth. We identified nine genes differentially expressed in PCa tumors and normal tissue which could be potential targets of miR-21 by bioinformatic analyses. We demonstrate that miR-21 directly targeted KLF5 and inhibited KLF5 mRNA and protein levels in PCa. STRING and functional enrichment analysis results suggest that GSK3B might be regulated by KLF5. Our findings demonstrate that miR-21 promotes the tumorigenesis of PCa cells by directly targeting KLF5. These biological effects are mediated through upregulation of GSK3B and activation of the AKT signaling pathway.

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Hepcidin is not essential for mediating testosterone's effects on erythropoiesis.

We have shown that testosterone administration suppresses hepcidin, stimulates iron-dependent erythropoiesis, and increases hemoglobin and hematocrit.

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