We previously observed that dexamethasone had a biphasic effect on the levels of mRNA encoding the major surfactant protein (SP-A) in human fetal lung in vitro; at concentrations of 10-10 and 10-9 M, dexamethasone caused an increase in the levels of SP-A mRNA, whereas at concentrations of > 10-8 M, the steroid had a pronounced inhibitory effect on SP-A mRNA levels. It was also found that dexamethasone antagonized the stimulatory effect of dibutyryl cyclic AMP (Bt2cAMP) on SP-A mRNA levels in human fetal lung in vitro. It was our objective, in the present study, to characterize further the effects of dexamethasone and Bt2cAMP on SP-A mRNA levels in human fetal lung tissue and to determine whether such effects are associated with comparable changes in the transcriptional activity of the SP-A gene. We found that the action of dexamethasone (10-7 M) to reduce the levels of SP-A mRNA in control and Bt2cAMP-treated fetal lung explants was evident within 2 h of its addition to the culture medium; SP-A mRNA was reduced to barely detectable levels in control and in Bt2cAMP-treated tissues after 24 h of dexamethasone treatment. The action of dexamethasone to reduce SP-A mRNA levels was not prevented by co-incubation with either actinomycin D or cycloheximide. In contrast to its dose-related biphasic effects on the levels of SP-A mRNA, we found that dexamethasone caused a dose-dependent stimulation of SP-A gene transcription. Bt2cAMP also increased the transcriptional activity of the SP-A gene in the human fetal lung in vitro. In fetal lung explants incubated in the presence of dexamethasone plus Bt2cAMP, a synergistic induction of SP-A gene transcription was observed at concentrations of dexamethasone of 10-9 - 10-7 M. Our findings are indicative that the stimulatory effects of dexamethasone (10-10 - 10-9 M) on SP-A mRNA levels are reflective of a stimulatory effect of the steroid on SP-A gene transcription, whereas the inhibitory effects of dexamethasone (10-7 M) on SP-A mRNA levels are the result of a dominant effect of the steroid in elevated concentrations to reduce SP-A mRNA stability.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|State||Published - 1989|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology