Androgen-mediated growth repression of androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC) cells has been reported in androgen-independent PC-3 cells overexpressing the androgen receptor, and in androgen-independent derivatives of LNCaP cells that develop following prolonged culture in androgen-free media. Using two models of AIPC, PC3/AR cells and LNCaP-OM1 cells, a subclone of LNCaP cells derived by prolonged culturing in charcoal-stripped media, we investigated whether expression of neutral endopeptidase 24.11 (NEP), a cell-surface peptidase that cleaves and inactivates neuropeptides implicated in the growth of AIPC, is induced by androgen, and whether NEP contributes to the observed androgen-mediated growth repression. These cell lines each express high levels of androgen receptor. Culturing in dihyrotestosterone (DHT) resulted in a 30-56% (PC3) and 35-43% (LNCaP-OM1) decrease in cell number over 7 days concomitant with a significant increase in NEP enzyme specific activity. Northern analysis detected an increase in NEP transcripts following DHT treatment in PC3/AR cells. The addition of the NEP enzyme inhibitor phosphoramidon to PC3 and LNCaP-OM1 or the NEP competitive inhibitor CGS 24592 to LNCaP-OM1 blocked the increase in NEP enzyme activity and reversed the DHT-induced growth inhibition. Neither phosphoramidon or CGS 24592 alone inhibited cell growth. Furthermore, the reversal of growth inhibition in LNCaP-OM1 cells was dose dependent on the concentration of CGS 24592. These data indicate that androgen-induced growth repression of AIPC cells PC3 and LNCaP-OM1 results in part from androgen-induced expression of NEP in these cells.
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