Estradiol and progesterone regulate oxytocin receptor binding and expression in human breast cancer cell lines

Janet A. Amico, Phillip N. Rauk, Hou ming Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The effects of estradiol (E2) and progesterone on the oxytocin receptor (OTR) were investigated in MCF-7 and Hs 578T human breast cancer cell lines. OTR messenger RNA and protein were identified by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and solution-phase hybridization-RNase protection assay, and Western blot analysis, respectively, in cell lines and in cancerous breast tissue removed from women at mastectomy. Cells were exposed to E2, progesterone, or vehicle (each steroid, 10-10-10-6 M) for 24 h and harvested for extraction of RNA. The OTR PCR product was increased by E2 (10-7 M, p < 0.05, or 10-6 M, p < 0.01 vs control) and decreased by progesterone (control vs 10-7 or 10-6 M, each p < 0.005). Hs578T cells were cultured in the presence or absence of E2 (10-6 M) or progesterone (10-6 M) for 24 h and binding was measured. For the E2-exposed cells, the Kd (p < 0.05), and Bmax (p < 0.01) were higher whereas for the progesterone-treated cells the Kd (p < 0.05) and Bmax were lower than control cells. E2 and progesterone not only regulate OTR expression and binding in normal mammary myoepithelium but also in malignant mammary cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Melvyn Soloff, University of Texas, Galveston, for the oxytocin receptor riboprobe. We also acknowledge the expert technical assistance of Jai Ping in the radio-receptor studies. This work was supported in part by the US Army Medical Research and Material Command under DAMD17-97-1-7021 and Merit Review Funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs.


  • And progesterone
  • Estrogen
  • Human breast cancer
  • Mammary gland
  • Oxytocin
  • Oxytocin receptor

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