Journal Article

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) inhibits vanadate-induced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in TRAMP prostates

Wayne A. Fritz, Tien-Min Lin and Richard E. Peterson

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 29, issue 5, pages 1077-1082
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) inhibits vanadate-induced vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in TRAMP prostates

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Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT) are basic helix-loop-helix/per-arnt-sim (PAS) family transcription factors. During angiogenesis and tumor growth, HIF-1α dimerizes with ARNT, inducing expression of many genes, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). ARNT also dimerizes with the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR). AhR-null (Ahr−/−) transgenic adenocarcinoma of the mouse prostate (TRAMP) mice develop prostate tumors with greater frequency than AhR wild-type (Ahr+/+) TRAMP mice, even though prevalence of prostate epithelial hyperplasia is not inhibited. This suggests that Ahr inhibits prostate carcinogenesis. In TRAMP mice, prostatic epithelial hyperplasia results in stabilized HIF-1α, inducing expression of VEGF, a prerequisite for tumor growth and angiogenesis. Since ARNT is a common dimerization partner of AhR and HIF-1α, we hypothesized that the AhR inhibits prostate tumor formation by competing with HIF-1α for ARNT, thereby limiting VEGF production. Prostates from Ahr+/+, Ahr+/− and Ahr−/− C57BL/6J TRAMP mice were cultured in the presence of graded concentrations of vanadate, an inducer of VEGF through the HIF-1α–ARNT pathway. Vanadate induced VEGF protein in a dose-dependent fashion in Ahr+/− and Ahr−/− TRAMP cultures, but not in Ahr+/+ cultures. However, vanadate induced upstream proteins in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-signaling cascade to a similar extent in TRAMPs of each Ahr genotype, evidenced by v-akt murine thymoma viral oncogene homolog (Akt) phosphorylation. These findings suggest that AhR sequesters ARNT, decreasing interaction with HIF-1α reducing VEGF production. Since VEGF is required for tumor vascularization and growth, these studies further suggest that reduction in VEGF correlates with inhibited prostate carcinogenesis in Ahr+/+ TRAMP mice.

Journal Article.  4791 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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