Androgen receptor activation reduces the endothelial cell proliferation through activating the cSrc/AKT/p38/ERK/NFκB-mediated pathway

Yen Nien Huo, Shauh Der Yeh, Wen Sen Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of androgen on angiogenesis has been documented. However, its underlying molecular mechanisms have not been well illustrated. Here, we show that treatment with an androgen receptor (AR) agonist, metribolone (R1881; 0.05–5 nM), or dihydrotestosterone (DHT; 0.5–2 nM), concentration- and time-dependently inhibited proliferation in human umbilical venous endothelial cells (HUVEC). This inhibitory effect was confirmed in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1). Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated that R1881 induced G0/G1 phase cell cycle arrest in HUVEC. Blockade of the AR activity by pre-treatment with an AR antagonist, hydroxyflutamide (HF), or knockdown of AR expression using the shRNA technique abolished the R1881-induced HUVEC proliferation inhibition, suggesting that AR activation can inhibit endothelial cell proliferation. We further investigated the signaling pathway contributing to the proliferation inhibition induced by AR activation. Our data suggest that R1881 reduced the proliferation rate of HUVEC through activating the AR/cSrc/AKT/p38/ERK/NFκB pathway, subsequently up-regulating p53 expression, which in turn increased the levels of p21 and p27 protein, hence decreasing the activities of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) and CDK4, and finally reduced the cell proliferation rate. An extra-nuclear pathway involved in the proliferation inhibition induced by AR activation in vascular endothelial cells was confirmed by showing that membrane-impermeable testosterone-bovine serum albumin (BSA) treatment significantly increased the levels of p53, p27 and p21 protein and reduced cell proliferation. These data highlight the underlying molecular mechanisms by which AR activation induced proliferation inhibition in vascular endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105459
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • cSrc
  • Metribolone
  • p21
  • p27
  • shRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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