Dexamethasone increases the expression of retinoid X receptor genes in rat hepatoma cell lines

Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, L. Wang, T. C J Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Glucocorticoids and retinoic acid (RA) exert their effects through nuclear receptors; trans-acting factors that regulate the expression of target genes. Both glucocorticoids and retinoic acid have been shown to control hepatocyte phenotype to regulate expression of many liver specific genes such as α-fetoprotein and albumin. Two classes of receptors for retinoic acid have been identified, retinoic acid receptor and retinoic x receptor (RXR). RXRs, the receptors for 9-cis-RA (c-RA), are auxiliary factors that form heterodimers with retinoic acid receptors, vitamin D receptors, and thyroid hormone receptors and enhance the binding of the receptors to their cognate responsive elements. Thus, the level of RXR may be a crucial parameter to determine the effects of other hormones. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The current study was designed to analyze the regulation of RXR gene expression by other hormones in hepatoma cells. The effects of c-RA, all- trans-RA, 3,3',5-Triiodo-L-Thyronine, estrogen, and dexamethasone on RXR genes were examined. The expression levels of RXR mRNAs were quantitated by northern hybridization. RESULTS: Dexamethasone, a crucial agent for hepatocyte differentiation, is the only hormone that up-regulates the levels of liver specific RXRα mRNA in three phenotypically different rat hepatoma cell lines. In addition, dexamethasone enhances the expression of RXRγ mRNA in two cell lines but has no effect on RXRβ gene in any cell line. The regulation of RXRα gene is time-and dose-dependent and can be blocked by actinomycin D. However, cycloheximide has no effect on the dexamethasone induced RXRα gene expression. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that dexamethasone enhances the expression of RXRα gene probably by increasing the transcription of RXRα gene and that glucocorticoids may enhance the differentiation effects of c-RA by increasing the levels of the RXRs in hepatoma cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994


  • Glucocorticoid
  • Retinoic acid
  • Steroid hormone receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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