Nonylphenol (NP) is an industrial chemical with estrogenic activity both in vivo and in vitro; estrogens play a critical role in the development of prostate and may be the cause of some pathological states, including cancer. In this study we examined the effects of NP on human prostate non tumorigenic epithelial cells (PNT1A) investigating on cell proliferation, interaction with estrogen receptors (ERs) and gene expression of genes involved in prostate diseases. We found that NP affects cell proliferation at 10-6 M, promoting a cytoplasm-nucleus translocation of ERα and not ERβ, like the natural estrogen 17β-estradiol (E2). Moreover, we showed that NP enhances gene expression of key regulators of cell cycle. Estrogen selective antagonist ICI182780 in part reverted the observed effects of NP. These results confirm the estrogenic activity of NP and suggest that other transduction pathways may be involved in NP action on prostate.
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