The regulation of proto-oncogenes has been connected with proliferation and differentiation in various cell types. In the present study, the ACTH-induced expression of c-myc mRNA and proliferation of fetal rat adrenocortical cells have been studied. Low levels of c-myc mRNA were detected in undifferentiated zona glomerulosa-like cells. Stimulation with ACTH for 2 to 6 h transiently increased the c-myc mRNA levels. Both basal and ACTH-induced expression levels were increased by the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. Treatment with a protein kinase C (PKC) activator 12–0-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate mimicked the effect of ACTH, whereas c-myc mRNA levels decreased by inhibiting the PKC with H-7. ACTH inhibited proliferation of fetal rat adrenocortical cells during the first 24 h of stimulation. The inhibitory effect began from 6 h, reached its maximum at 12 h and slowly vanished at 24 h.
Our data demonstrated that ACTH transiently increased c-myc mRNA expression. Adrenocortical c-myc expression was mediated via PKC. In contrast to previous reports, where c-myc expression precedes proliferation of various cells, ACTH-induced c-myc mRNA expression of cultured fetal rat adrenocortical cells was followed by inhibition of proliferation.
Journal of Endocrinology (1995) 145, 379–385