Vitamin D analogs modulate the action of gonadal steroids in human vascular cells in vitro

D. Somjen, F. Kohen, Y. Amir-Zaltsman, E. Knoll, N. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously reported that estradiol (E2) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) regulate cell growth in human umbilical arterial smooth muscle cells (SMC) and in an endothelial cell line (E304). In SMC both gonadal steroids stimulated DNA synthesis at low concentrations and suppressed 3[H] thymidine incorporation at high concentrations, whereas in E304 cells E2 and DHT dose dependently enhanced DNA synthesis. In both cell types gonadal steroids also induced the specific activity of creatine kinase BB (CK). Previous evidence suggets that the in vitro and in vivo CK responses to gonadal steroids in bone cells are upregulated by pretreatment with vitamin D analogs due to increased level of cellular estrogen receptors (ER). Here we analyzed the interaction of the vitamin D analogs hexafluorovitamin D (FL), JK-1624 F2-2 (JKF), and CB 1093 (CB) with gonadal steroids in regulating DNA synthesis and CK activity in human vascular cells in vitro. In E304 cells, daily treatment with FL, JKF, or CB (1 nmol/L for 3 days) increased DNA synthesis by 110 ± 11%, 65 ± 16%, and 88 ± 23% respectively. In contrast, the same analogs inhibited 3[H] thymidine incorporation by 52 ± 21%, 46 ± 19%, and 50 ± 10%, respectively, in SMC. In both cell types all three analogs increased CK by 25% to 75% and amplified the CK response to E2 and to DHT by twofold to threefold. In E304 cells the vitamin D analogs also increased DNA response to gonadal steroids from 50% to 60% to 200% to 280%. In SMC these analogs did not modify the DNA synthetic response to a low E2 concentration, but prevented the suppression of DNA synthesis exerted by high concentrations of E2 and DHT. Vitamin D inhibitors known to block cellular calcium mobilization, had no effect on the proliferative activity induced by vitamin D analogs. However, the inhibitor of the nuclear effects of vitamin D, ZK 159222, blocked the stimulatory effects of CB on DNA synthesis in E304 cells. Finally, both 1,25(OH)2 D3, and JKF decreased the expression of ERβ proteins in SMC and increased the ERα isoform in E304 cells by 40% to 75%. The results indicate that vascular cells are targets for both vitamin D and gonadal steroid action and suggest a possible interaction between these hormones in the regulation of cell proliferation via modulation of vascular ER or interaction with proteins associated with ER.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-403
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Hypertension
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


  • Androgens
  • Endothelial cells
  • Estradiol
  • Vascular smooth muscle cells
  • Vitamin D


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