Upregulation of manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2) is a common pathway for neuroendocrine differentiation in prostate cancer cells

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Despite improvements in diagnosis of advanced prostate cancer (PCa), treatment is not efficient and 5-year survival is still low. Initially, the less abundant of cell types, neuroendocrine cells (NE), are involved in regulatory process but their physiological role is not fully understood. Among others, an increase in NE cells along with tumor progression has been commonly reported but their role in tumorigenesis or the molecular mechanisms of transdifferentiation is still a matter of debate. We have used human PCa cells (LNCaP) induced to differentiate to NE cells with several stimuli: androgen withdrawal, cyclic AMP or treatment with the antioxidant pineal hormone melatonin. PCa patients' specimens were also analyzed by western blotting and by immunocytochemistry. NE-like LNCaP cells express high levels of mitochondrial superoxide dismutase (MnSOD/SOD2) in addition to NE markers. MnSOD upregulation is mediated by NFκB transcription factor, mainly through p65 translocation into the nuclei. More importantly, overexpression of MnSOD induces the rise of NE-markers in LNCaP cells, showing that MnSOD upregulation might be instrumental for NE differentiation in PCa cells. Furthermore, MnSOD is highly expressed in advanced tumors of patients' when compared with control, nonpathological samples or with low-grade tumors, along with the presence of synaptophysin, a common NE marker. Also, fluorescence immunohistochemical analysis revealed that MnSOD colocalizes with NE markers in most of NE cells observed in PCa specimens. The present findings indicate that MnSOD is essential for NE transdifferentiation and mediates in part the differentiation process, which appears also to be criticalin vivo.© 2009 UICC

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