Effect of propofol on androgen receptor activity in prostate cancer cells

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Androgen receptor is a nuclear receptor and transcription factor activated by androgenic hormones. Androgen receptor activity plays a pivotal role in the development and progression of prostate cancer. Although accumulating evidence suggests that general anesthetics, including opioids, affect cancer cell growth and impact patient prognosis, the effect of those drugs on androgen receptor in prostate cancer is not clear. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the general anesthetic propofol on androgen receptor activity in prostate cancer cells. An androgen-dependent human prostate cancer cell line (LNCaP) was stimulated with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and exposed to propofol. The induction of androgen receptor target genes was investigated using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and androgen receptor protein levels and localization patterns were analyzed using immunoblotting and immunofluorescence assays. The effect of propofol on the proliferation of LNCaP cells was analyzed using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assays. Propofol significantly inhibited DHT-induced expression of androgen receptor target genes in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and immunoblotting and immunofluorescence assays indicated that propofol suppressed nuclear levels of androgen receptor proteins. Exposure to propofol for 24 h suppressed the proliferation of LNCaP cells, whereas 4 h of exposure did not exert significant effects. Together, our results indicate that propofol suppresses nuclear androgen receptor protein levels, and inhibits androgen receptor transcriptional activity and proliferation in LNCaP cells.

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