Regulation of expression of the gene encoding the major surfactant protein (SP-A) in human fetal lung in vitro. Disparate effects of glucocorticoids on transcription and on mRNA stability

V. Boggaram, M. E. Smith, C. R. Mendelson

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90 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11421-11427
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume264
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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