Regulation of aromatase by nuclear receptors

Toshihiko Yanase, Yi Ming Mu, Yoshihiro Nishi, Kiminobu Goto, Masatoshi Nomura, Taijirou Okabe, Ryoichi Takayanagi, Hajime Nawata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We investigated the effects of a nuclear receptor system constituted by retinoid X receptor (RXR) and its heterodimer partner on the aromatase activity in a cultured MCF-7 human breast cancer cell line and also in human ovarian granulosa cells, using each selective ligand for retinoic acid receptor, RAR (TTNPB), retinoid X receptor, RXR (LG100268), PPARγ (troglitazone), and vitamin D3 receptor (cholecalciferol). In MCF-7 cells, the combined treatment with TTNPB and LG100268 caused a dramatic stimulation of the aromatase activity. The combined treatment with other ligand and LG100268 had little or no effect on the aromatase activity. The increase in the aromatase activity by TTNPB plus LG100268 was accompanied by an increase in the P450arom mRNA levels, which was also found to be related to the specific usage of promoter 1a of the CYP19 gene. These results suggest that a nuclear receptor system constituted by a RAR:RXR heterodimer is involved in the regulation of aromatase activity in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. In cultured human ovarian granulosa cells obtained from patients who underwent in vitro fertilization, troglitazone or LG100268 alone decreased the aromatase activity, while the combined treatment caused an even greater reduction in this activity. Little effect of other specific ligands for RXR heterodimer partners may support the notion that the effects of troglitazone and/or LG100268 in human granulosa cells may be mediated through the specific activation of PPARγ:RXR heterodimer system. Since similar manners of effects of several PPARγ ligands and/or LG100268 on the aromatase activity were observed in a newly established human ovarian granulosa cancer cell line, KGN, we performed the detailed analysis of the mechanisms of these effects using this cell line. As a result, the inhibitory effect of aromatase activity by troglitazone plus LG100268 was accompanied by the decrease of P450arom mRNA level. Furthermore, the loss of P450arom expression was considered to be due to both the decreased transcription and rapid degradation of its RNA based on the studies of nuclear run-on assay and RNA stability assay. In conclusion, RAR:RXR and PPARγ:RXR heterodimer nuclear receptor systems may be other important modulators of estrogen production in human breast cancer cells and ovarian granulosa cells, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-5
Publication statusPublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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