Low glucocorticoid receptor (GR), high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression in double positive thymocytes of BALB/c mice indicates their endogenous glucocorticoid hormone exposure

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Abstract

Several studies have shown that of the four major thymocyte subsets, the CD4/CD8 double positive (DP) thymocytes are the most sensitive to in vivo glucocorticoid hormone (GC)-induced apoptosis. Our aim was to analyse fine molecular differences among thymocyte subgroups that could underlie this phenomenon. Therefore, we characterised the glucocorticoid hormone receptor (GR) expression of thymocyte subgroups both at the mRNA and protein levels by real-time PCR and flow cytometry, and correlated these features to their apoptotic sensitivity. We also investigated the time-dependent effects of the GC agonist dexamethasone (DX) with or without GC antagonist (RU486) treatments on GR mRNA/protein expression. We also analysed the expression of two apoptosis-related gene products: dexamethasone-induced gene 2 (Dig2) mRNA and Bcl-2 protein. We found that DN thymocytes had the highest GR expression, followed by CD8 single positive (SP), CD4 SP and DP thymocytes in 4-week-old BALB/c mice, both at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. In DP cells, the Dig2 expression was significanty higher, while the Bcl-2 expression was significantly lower than in DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP thymocytes. Single high dose DX treatment caused time-dependent depletion of DP thymocytes due to their higher apoptosis rate, which could not be abolished with RU486 pretreatment. After a single high dose DX treatment, there was a transient, significant increase of the GR mRNA and protein level of unsorted thymocytes after 8 and 16 h, followed by a significant decrease at 24 h, respectively. The time-dependent GR expression changes after DX administration could not be inhibited by the GC antagonist RU486. Twenty-four hours after exposure to high dose DX the DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP cells showed a significant decrease of GR mRNA and protein expression, whereas the DP thymocytes, showed no significant alteration of GR mRNA or protein expression. The kinetical analysis of GR expression and apoptotic marker changes upon single high dose GC analogue administration revealed a two-phase process in thymocytes: early events, within 4-8 h, include GR upregulation and early apoptosis induction, while the late events appear most prominently at 16-20 h, when the GR is already downregulated and apoptotic cell ratio reaches its peak, with marked DP cell depletion. The low GR, high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression, coupled with the absence of homologous downregulation of GR after exogenous GC analogue treatment, could contribute to the high GC sensitivity of DP thymocytes. The downregulated GR and Bcl-2 together with the upregulated Dig2 level in DP cells indicates the significance of intrathymic GC effects at this differentiation stage. Since GR expression changes and apoptotic events could not be completely inhibited by GC antagonist, we propose the involvement of non-genomic GR mechanisms in these processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)785-796
Number of pages12
JournalImmunobiology
Volume211
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 4 2006

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bcl-2 Genes
Glucocorticoid Receptors
Thymocytes
Dexamethasone
Glucocorticoids
Hormones
Messenger RNA
Hormone Antagonists
Proteins
Apoptosis
Down-Regulation

Keywords

  • Bcl-2
  • Dexamethasone
  • Dig2
  • Double positive thymocytes
  • Glucocorticoid hormone autoregulation
  • Glucocorticoid receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

Cite this

@article{cf2dc9a61d0c45c1814ba6a9e1fb3237,
title = "Low glucocorticoid receptor (GR), high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression in double positive thymocytes of BALB/c mice indicates their endogenous glucocorticoid hormone exposure",
abstract = "Several studies have shown that of the four major thymocyte subsets, the CD4/CD8 double positive (DP) thymocytes are the most sensitive to in vivo glucocorticoid hormone (GC)-induced apoptosis. Our aim was to analyse fine molecular differences among thymocyte subgroups that could underlie this phenomenon. Therefore, we characterised the glucocorticoid hormone receptor (GR) expression of thymocyte subgroups both at the mRNA and protein levels by real-time PCR and flow cytometry, and correlated these features to their apoptotic sensitivity. We also investigated the time-dependent effects of the GC agonist dexamethasone (DX) with or without GC antagonist (RU486) treatments on GR mRNA/protein expression. We also analysed the expression of two apoptosis-related gene products: dexamethasone-induced gene 2 (Dig2) mRNA and Bcl-2 protein. We found that DN thymocytes had the highest GR expression, followed by CD8 single positive (SP), CD4 SP and DP thymocytes in 4-week-old BALB/c mice, both at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. In DP cells, the Dig2 expression was significanty higher, while the Bcl-2 expression was significantly lower than in DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP thymocytes. Single high dose DX treatment caused time-dependent depletion of DP thymocytes due to their higher apoptosis rate, which could not be abolished with RU486 pretreatment. After a single high dose DX treatment, there was a transient, significant increase of the GR mRNA and protein level of unsorted thymocytes after 8 and 16 h, followed by a significant decrease at 24 h, respectively. The time-dependent GR expression changes after DX administration could not be inhibited by the GC antagonist RU486. Twenty-four hours after exposure to high dose DX the DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP cells showed a significant decrease of GR mRNA and protein expression, whereas the DP thymocytes, showed no significant alteration of GR mRNA or protein expression. The kinetical analysis of GR expression and apoptotic marker changes upon single high dose GC analogue administration revealed a two-phase process in thymocytes: early events, within 4-8 h, include GR upregulation and early apoptosis induction, while the late events appear most prominently at 16-20 h, when the GR is already downregulated and apoptotic cell ratio reaches its peak, with marked DP cell depletion. The low GR, high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression, coupled with the absence of homologous downregulation of GR after exogenous GC analogue treatment, could contribute to the high GC sensitivity of DP thymocytes. The downregulated GR and Bcl-2 together with the upregulated Dig2 level in DP cells indicates the significance of intrathymic GC effects at this differentiation stage. Since GR expression changes and apoptotic events could not be completely inhibited by GC antagonist, we propose the involvement of non-genomic GR mechanisms in these processes.",
keywords = "Bcl-2, Dexamethasone, Dig2, Double positive thymocytes, Glucocorticoid hormone autoregulation, Glucocorticoid receptor",
author = "F. Boldizs{\'a}r and L. P{\'a}link{\'a}s and T. Cz{\"o}mp{\"o}ly and Domokos Bartis and P. N{\'e}meth and T. Berki",
year = "2006",
month = "12",
day = "4",
doi = "10.1016/j.imbio.2006.06.005",
language = "English",
volume = "211",
pages = "785--796",
journal = "Immunobiology",
issn = "0171-2985",
publisher = "Urban und Fischer Verlag GmbH und Co. KG",
number = "10",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Low glucocorticoid receptor (GR), high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression in double positive thymocytes of BALB/c mice indicates their endogenous glucocorticoid hormone exposure

AU - Boldizsár, F.

AU - Pálinkás, L.

AU - Czömpöly, T.

AU - Bartis, Domokos

AU - Németh, P.

AU - Berki, T.

PY - 2006/12/4

Y1 - 2006/12/4

N2 - Several studies have shown that of the four major thymocyte subsets, the CD4/CD8 double positive (DP) thymocytes are the most sensitive to in vivo glucocorticoid hormone (GC)-induced apoptosis. Our aim was to analyse fine molecular differences among thymocyte subgroups that could underlie this phenomenon. Therefore, we characterised the glucocorticoid hormone receptor (GR) expression of thymocyte subgroups both at the mRNA and protein levels by real-time PCR and flow cytometry, and correlated these features to their apoptotic sensitivity. We also investigated the time-dependent effects of the GC agonist dexamethasone (DX) with or without GC antagonist (RU486) treatments on GR mRNA/protein expression. We also analysed the expression of two apoptosis-related gene products: dexamethasone-induced gene 2 (Dig2) mRNA and Bcl-2 protein. We found that DN thymocytes had the highest GR expression, followed by CD8 single positive (SP), CD4 SP and DP thymocytes in 4-week-old BALB/c mice, both at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. In DP cells, the Dig2 expression was significanty higher, while the Bcl-2 expression was significantly lower than in DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP thymocytes. Single high dose DX treatment caused time-dependent depletion of DP thymocytes due to their higher apoptosis rate, which could not be abolished with RU486 pretreatment. After a single high dose DX treatment, there was a transient, significant increase of the GR mRNA and protein level of unsorted thymocytes after 8 and 16 h, followed by a significant decrease at 24 h, respectively. The time-dependent GR expression changes after DX administration could not be inhibited by the GC antagonist RU486. Twenty-four hours after exposure to high dose DX the DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP cells showed a significant decrease of GR mRNA and protein expression, whereas the DP thymocytes, showed no significant alteration of GR mRNA or protein expression. The kinetical analysis of GR expression and apoptotic marker changes upon single high dose GC analogue administration revealed a two-phase process in thymocytes: early events, within 4-8 h, include GR upregulation and early apoptosis induction, while the late events appear most prominently at 16-20 h, when the GR is already downregulated and apoptotic cell ratio reaches its peak, with marked DP cell depletion. The low GR, high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression, coupled with the absence of homologous downregulation of GR after exogenous GC analogue treatment, could contribute to the high GC sensitivity of DP thymocytes. The downregulated GR and Bcl-2 together with the upregulated Dig2 level in DP cells indicates the significance of intrathymic GC effects at this differentiation stage. Since GR expression changes and apoptotic events could not be completely inhibited by GC antagonist, we propose the involvement of non-genomic GR mechanisms in these processes.

AB - Several studies have shown that of the four major thymocyte subsets, the CD4/CD8 double positive (DP) thymocytes are the most sensitive to in vivo glucocorticoid hormone (GC)-induced apoptosis. Our aim was to analyse fine molecular differences among thymocyte subgroups that could underlie this phenomenon. Therefore, we characterised the glucocorticoid hormone receptor (GR) expression of thymocyte subgroups both at the mRNA and protein levels by real-time PCR and flow cytometry, and correlated these features to their apoptotic sensitivity. We also investigated the time-dependent effects of the GC agonist dexamethasone (DX) with or without GC antagonist (RU486) treatments on GR mRNA/protein expression. We also analysed the expression of two apoptosis-related gene products: dexamethasone-induced gene 2 (Dig2) mRNA and Bcl-2 protein. We found that DN thymocytes had the highest GR expression, followed by CD8 single positive (SP), CD4 SP and DP thymocytes in 4-week-old BALB/c mice, both at the mRNA and protein levels, respectively. In DP cells, the Dig2 expression was significanty higher, while the Bcl-2 expression was significantly lower than in DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP thymocytes. Single high dose DX treatment caused time-dependent depletion of DP thymocytes due to their higher apoptosis rate, which could not be abolished with RU486 pretreatment. After a single high dose DX treatment, there was a transient, significant increase of the GR mRNA and protein level of unsorted thymocytes after 8 and 16 h, followed by a significant decrease at 24 h, respectively. The time-dependent GR expression changes after DX administration could not be inhibited by the GC antagonist RU486. Twenty-four hours after exposure to high dose DX the DN, CD4 SP and CD8 SP cells showed a significant decrease of GR mRNA and protein expression, whereas the DP thymocytes, showed no significant alteration of GR mRNA or protein expression. The kinetical analysis of GR expression and apoptotic marker changes upon single high dose GC analogue administration revealed a two-phase process in thymocytes: early events, within 4-8 h, include GR upregulation and early apoptosis induction, while the late events appear most prominently at 16-20 h, when the GR is already downregulated and apoptotic cell ratio reaches its peak, with marked DP cell depletion. The low GR, high Dig2 and low Bcl-2 expression, coupled with the absence of homologous downregulation of GR after exogenous GC analogue treatment, could contribute to the high GC sensitivity of DP thymocytes. The downregulated GR and Bcl-2 together with the upregulated Dig2 level in DP cells indicates the significance of intrathymic GC effects at this differentiation stage. Since GR expression changes and apoptotic events could not be completely inhibited by GC antagonist, we propose the involvement of non-genomic GR mechanisms in these processes.

KW - Bcl-2

KW - Dexamethasone

KW - Dig2

KW - Double positive thymocytes

KW - Glucocorticoid hormone autoregulation

KW - Glucocorticoid receptor

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U2 - 10.1016/j.imbio.2006.06.005

DO - 10.1016/j.imbio.2006.06.005

M3 - Article

VL - 211

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EP - 796

JO - Immunobiology

JF - Immunobiology

SN - 0171-2985

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