Rapid and structure-specific cellular uptake of selected steroids

Autoři: Jeffrey M. McManus aff001;  Kelsey Bohn aff001;  Mohammad Alyamani aff001;  Yoon-Mi Chung aff001;  Eric A. Klein aff002;  Nima Sharifi aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America aff001;  Department of Urology, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America aff002;  Department of Hematology and Oncology, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224081


Steroid hormones and their respective nuclear receptors are essential mediators in numerous physiologic and pathophysiologic processes, ranging from regulation of metabolism, immune function, and reproductive processes to the development of hormone-dependent cancers such as those of the breast and prostate. Because steroids must enter cells before activating nuclear receptors, understanding the mechanisms by which cellular uptake occurs is critical, yet a clear understanding of these mechanisms has been elusive. It is generally assumed that diffusion-driven uptake is similar across various steroids whereas an elevated cellular concentration is thought to reflect active uptake, but these assumptions have not been directly tested. Here we show that intact cells rapidly accumulate free steroids to markedly elevated concentrations. This effect varies widely depending on steroid structure; more lipophilic steroids reach more elevated concentrations. Strong preferences exist for 3β-OH, Δ5-steroids vs. 3-keto, Δ4-structural features and for progestogens vs. androgens. Surprisingly, steroid-structure-specific preferences do not require cell viability, implying a passive mechanism, and occur across cells derived from multiple tissue types. Physiologic relevance is suggested by structure-specific preferences in human prostate tissue compared with serum. On the other hand, the presence of serum proteins in vitro blocks much, but not all, of the passive accumulation, while still permitting a substantial amount of active accumulation for certain steroids. Our findings suggest that both passive and active uptake mechanisms make important contributions to the cellular steroid uptake process. The role of passive, lipophilicity-driven accumulation has previously been largely unappreciated, and its existence provides important context to studies on steroid transport and action both in vitro and in vivo.

Klíčová slova:

Cell membranes – Culture media – Progesterone – Prostate cancer – Prostate gland – Serum proteins – Steroids – Testosterone


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