Aberrant DNA methylation may be involved in human adrenocortical tumorigenesis, which is often accompanied by abnormal hormone production. In this study, we aimed to clarify the effects of DNA methylation on steroidogenesis using the human adrenocortical NCI-H295R cell line as a model. Treatment with the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (Azad; 10 μM for 7 days) decreased the proliferation rate to approximately 20% and the cell number to 60% of the control, with a simultaneous increase in the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57kip2 gene. In addition, Azad treatment increased cortisol secretion dose and time dependently, whereas dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate secretion was not affected. Azad treatment decreased basal and (BU)2cAMP-induced expression of low- and high-density lipoprotein receptor, steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, steroid 17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase and steroid 21-hydroxylase mRNA, as well as the StAR protein level. In contrast, Azad treatment increased the basal expression of steroid 11β-hydroxylase and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Δ5-Δ 4-isomerase genes, although it inhibited the (Bu 2cAMP-induced expression of these two genes. The expression of steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) and DAX-1 (dosage-sensitive sex reversal-adrenal hypoplasia congenita critical region on the X-chromosome 1) genes (both harboring putative CpG islands in their promoters) and the methylation degree of the HpaII recognition site(s) in the SF-1 gene promoter region were reduced by Azad treatment. The immunostaining pattern of the methyl-CpG-binding protein MeCP2 was also modified by Azad treatment. These results suggest that DNA methylation may be implicated in the regulation of cell proliferation and steroidogenesis in human adrenocortical cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology