by Jayoung Kim, Dolores Di Vizio, Taek-Kyun Kim, Jonghwan Kim, Minjung Kim, Kristine Pelton, Steven K. Clinton, Tsonwin Hai, Daehee Hwang, Keith R. Solomon, Michael R. Freeman
Elevated circulating cholesterol is a systemic risk factor for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, however the manner in which the normal prostate responds to variations in cholesterol levels is poorly understood. In this study we addressed the molecular and cellular effects of elevated and suppressed levels of circulating cholesterol on the normal prostate. Integrated bioinformatic analysis was performed using DNA microarray data from two experimental formats: (1) ventral prostate from male mice with chronically elevated circulating cholesterol and (2) human prostate cells exposed acutely to cholesterol depletion. A cholesterol-sensitive gene expression network was constructed from these data and the transcription factor ATF3 was identified as a prominent node in the network. Validation experiments confirmed that elevated cholesterol reduced ATF3 expression and enhanced proliferation of prostate cells, while cholesterol depletion increased ATF3 levels and inhibited proliferation. Cholesterol reduction in vivo alleviated dense lymphomononuclear infiltrates in the periprostatic adipose tissue, which were closely associated with nerve tracts and blood vessels. These findings open new perspectives on the role of cholesterol in prostate health, and provide a novel role for ATF3, and associated proteins within a large signaling network, as a cholesterol-sensing mechanism.