Leptin and high glucose stimulate cell proliferation in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells: reciprocal involvement of PKC-alpha and PPAR expression

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2002 Oct 21;1592(2):107-16. doi: 10.1016/s0167-4889(02)00276-8.


Glucose concentration may be an important factor in breast cancer cell proliferation, and the prevalence of breast cancer is high in diabetic patients. Leptin may also be an important factor since plasma levels of leptin correlated with TNM staging for breast cancer patients. The effects of glucose and leptin on breast cancer cell proliferation were evaluated by examining cell doubling time, DNA synthesis, levels of cell cycle related proteins, protein kinase C (PKC) isozyme expression, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) subtypes were determined following glucose exposure at normal (5.5 mM) and high (25 mM) concentrations with/without leptin in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. In MCF-7 cells, leptin and high glucose stimulated cell proliferation as demonstrated by the increases in DNA synthesis and expression of cdk2 and cyclin D1. PKC-alpha, PPARgamma, and PPARalpha protein levels were up-regulated following leptin and high glucose treatment in drug-sensitive MCF-7 cells. However, there was no significant effect of leptin and high glucose on cell proliferation, DNA synthesis, levels of cell cycle proteins, PKC isozymes, or PPAR subtypes in multidrug-resistant human breast cancer NCI/ADR-RES cells. These results suggested that hyperglycemia and hyperleptinemia increase breast cancer cell proliferation through accelerated cell cycle progression with up-regulation of cdk2 and cyclin D1 levels. This suggests the involvement of PKC-alpha, PPARalpha, and PPARgamma.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms
  • CDC2-CDC28 Kinases*
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cyclin D1 / analysis
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / analysis
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Resistance
  • Glucose / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / analysis
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism*
  • Thymidine / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation


  • Isoenzymes
  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Transcription Factors
  • Cyclin D1
  • DNA
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • PRKCA protein, human
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • CDC2-CDC28 Kinases
  • CDK2 protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 2
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Glucose
  • Thymidine