The cross-talk in vivo between two signalling pathways activated by testosterone via intracellular androgen receptor, and induced by damage to renal tubules evoked by anti-folate [N10-propargyl-5,8-dideazafolic acid (CB 3717)] or folate is reported. We show that CB 3717/folate induces the expression of the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/c-Met signalling system in injured kidneys in which a significant, but transient, elevation of the HGF mRNA level occurs. It is followed by a severalfold increase in the c-Met transmembrane receptor message that persists for up to 24h. The c-Met expression is also positively controlled by testosterone, which induces a significant increase in its mRNA level that is abolished by an anti-androgen, casodex. However, when testosterone and anti-folate/folate are administered sequentially, a substantial (3.5Ő4.0-fold) decrease in the increase of c-Met expression caused by CB 3717/folate alone occurs. Similarly, testosterone-induced ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) mRNA level and activity are decreased 2.8Ő7.7-fold when the androgen is applied together with CB 3717. Antagonism between these pathways is also visible under physiological conditions in the kidneys of male mice in which, owing to elevated endogenous testosterone levels, neither the ODC activity nor the mRNA level is induced by anti-folate/folate, whereas the c-Met message response to these drugs is significantly decreased. Our results document a substantial negative regulation of c-Met and ODC gene expression as a result of the cross-talk between testosterone-activated and HGF-activated pathways and suggest a sex-differentiated response to injury of mouse kidneys.

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