β-carotene-15,15'-dioxygenase (BCO1) cleaves dietary carotenoids at the central 15,15' double bond, most notably acting on β-carotene to yield retinal. However, Bco1 disruption also impacts diverse physiologic endpoints independent of dietary carotenoid feeding, including expression of genes controlling androgen metabolism. Using the Bco1-/- mouse model, we sought to probe the effects of Bco1 disruption on testicular steroidogenesis, prostatic androgen signaling, and prostatic proliferation. Male wild-type (WT) and Bco1-/- mice were raised on carotenoid-free AIN-93G diets before euthanasia between 10-14 weeks of age. Weights of the prostate and seminal vesicles were significantly lower in Bco1-/- than in WT mice (-18% and -29%, respectively). Serum testosterone levels in Bco1-/- mice were significantly reduced by 73%. Bco1 disruption significantly reduced Leydig cell number and decreased testicular mRNA expression of Hsd17b3, suggesting inhibition of testicular testosterone synthesis. Immunofluorescent staining of the androgen receptor (AR) in the dorsolateral prostate lobes of Bco1-/- mice revealed a decrease in AR nuclear localization and analysis of prostatic morphology suggested decreases in gland size and secretion. These findings were supported by reduced expression of the proliferation marker Ki67 in Bco1-/- prostates. Expression analysis of 200 prostate cancer- and androgen-related genes suggested that Bco1 loss significantly disrupted prostatic androgen receptor signaling, cell cycle progression, and proliferation. This is the first demonstration that Bco1 disruption lowers murine circulating testosterone levels and thereby reduces prostatic androgen receptor signaling and prostatic cellular proliferation - further supporting the role of this protein in processes more diverse than carotenoid cleavage.
- carotenoid oxygenase
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology