Human testicular germ cell tumours express inhibin subunits, activin receptors and follistatin mRNAs

R H van Schaik, C D Wierikx, L H Looijenga, J W Oosterhuis, F H de Jong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Germ cell development is influenced by activin and inhibin, which are produced by Sertoli cells. Activin also affects differentiation of mouse embryonal carcinoma cells, which, to a certain extent, resemble the embryonal carcinoma component of germ cell tumours. Therefore, the expression of inhibin/activin subunits, of activin receptors and of the activin-binding protein follistatin was studied in testicular germ cell tumours, using RNAase protection assays. Testicular germ cell tumours of adolescents and adults (TGCTs) and spermatocytic seminomas expressed activin type I and type II receptors (ActRI and ActRII respectively). Seminomas expressed significantly lower levels of ActRIIA (P<0.05, Mann-Whitney U-test) and higher levels of ActRIA (P<0.05) and ActRIB (P<0.05) compared with non-seminomas. All tumours expressed inhibin beta-subunit transcripts, which are a prerequisite for activin synthesis. Non-seminomas contained significantly higher levels of the inhibin betaA subunit (P<0.001) compared with seminomas. No activin betaC subunit transcripts could be demonstrated by RNAase protection. Inhibin alpha-subunit expression was absent in the spermatocytic seminomas, in six out of nine seminomas and in 10 out of 11 non-seminomas. Follistatin was expressed predominantly in non-seminomas and spermatocytic seminomas. This expression of activin type I and type II receptors in combination with expression of inhibin beta-subunits indicates that activin may act as a para- or autocrine factor in the regulation of growth and differentiation of tumours of human germ cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-8
Number of pages8
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Volume76
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Activin Receptors
  • Activin Receptors, Type I
  • Follistatin
  • Germinoma/metabolism
  • Glycoproteins/metabolism
  • Growth Substances/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inhibins
  • Male
  • Peptides/metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prostatic Secretory Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger/analysis
  • Receptors, Growth Factor/metabolism
  • Regression Analysis
  • Testicular Neoplasms/metabolism

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