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Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFbeta1) is inhibitory to most epithelia, but its role in the control of proliferation of prostatic epithelium is unclear. In some cells, TGFbeta1 inhibition is achieved by up-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitors including p15, p21 and p27. Our aims were to determine whether the effects of TGFbeta1 on human prostatic epithelial cell cycle kinetics were mediated by alterations in the levels of the cdk inhibitors p15, p16, p21 and p27 and hypo-phosphorylated retinoblastoma protein (Rb). Human prostatic epithelial cells in primary culture were grown in the presence of TGFbeta1 (0-10 ng/ml) for up to 4 days and proliferation assessed using a [3H]thymidine uptake assay. Levels of p15, p16, p21 and p27 were measured at both mRNA and protein level by means of a reverse transcriptase PCR-based assay and Western analysis. Rb and cdk2 levels were measured. Exogenous TGFbeta1 (0-5 ng/ml) inhibited proliferation. This was associated with blocking of the cell cycle at G1, and up to 4-fold increases in p15, p21 and p27 mRNA levels, but no change was observed in p16 mRNA levels; these changes were not blocked by cycloheximide. Increased levels of p15, p21 and p27 protein were also accompanied by increased levels of hypo-phosphorylated Rb and decreased cdk2 kinase activity. TGFbeta1 has mainly inhibitory effects on benign human prostatic epithelium, which are caused by up-regulation of cdk inhibitors, hypo-phosphorylation of Rb and delaying of the cell cycle in G1.


Journal article


J Endocrinol

Publication Date





257 - 266


Analysis of Variance, Carrier Proteins, Cell Cycle, Cell Cycle Proteins, Cells, Cultured, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p15, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16, Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21, Cyclin-Dependent Kinases, Cyclins, Epithelium, Flow Cytometry, G1 Phase, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Male, Prostate, Prostatic Hyperplasia, Retinoblastoma Protein, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Transforming Growth Factor beta, Tumor Suppressor Proteins