Dehydroepiandrosterone causes hyperplasia and impairs regeneration in rat liver
Affiliations: Hormones and Signal Transduction, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany
- Published online on: December 1, 2005 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.27.6.1551
- Pages: 1551-1558
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DHEA, a steroid of the adrenal gland, is a non-genotoxic hepatocarcinogen of the peroxisome proliferator type in rodents. However, DHEA also exerts anti-carcinogenic effects by reducing the number and proliferation of preneoplastic and neoplastic lesions induced by N-nitrosomorpholine. The mechanism underlying this growth-modulating effect is unclear, and no data are available on DHEA effects on normal liver. Here, we show that DHEA is a liver mitogen, increasing proliferation in rat liver after 3 days of treatment (100 mg/kg body weight per day) as indicated by significantly enhanced expression of cyclin E, PCNA and Ki-67 and an elevated number of mitotic figures. Histological observation of the liver and biochemical evaluation of serum transaminases and bilirubin did not reveal any evidence for cell death, demonstrating that increased proliferation was not due to liver damage. After 2 weeks of DHEA-treatment, proliferation parameters returned to control values and, after 4 weeks, cyclin E and Ki-67 were even lower than in controls. To study the DHEA effect on regenerating liver, we performed partial hepatectomy (PHx) on rats pretreated for 4 weeks with DHEA and analyzed the kinetics of the cell cycle. DHEA-treatment delayed the entry of hepatocytes into G1 phase by about 6 h indicated by a later rise in Ki-67 and cyclin E expression. Reduced STAT-3 activation before G1-phase entry indicates an impaired recruitment of hepatocytes to regenerative proliferation in DHEA-treated livers. The rise in proliferation observed after PHx in DHEA-treated livers was more flat and, in contrast to controls, did not show a peak value within the first 35h as indicated by Ki-67, PCNA, cyclin E and BrdU-incorporation levels in hepatocytes. In conclusion, the results show that DHEA acts as a mitogen in rat liver but reduces the regenerative capacity of the liver.