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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2004 Apr 15;218(1-2):7-20.

The role of 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases.

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  • 1GSF-National Research Center for Environment and Health, Institute of Experimental Genetics, Ingolst√§dter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany.


The biological activity of steroid hormones is regulated at the pre-receptor level by several enzymes including 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (17 beta -HSD). The latter are present in many microorganisms, invertebrates and vertebrates. Dysfunctions in human 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases result in disorders of biology of reproduction and neuronal diseases, the enzymes are also involved in the pathogenesis of various cancers. 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases reveal a remarkable multifunctionality being able to modulate concentrations not only of steroids but as well of fatty and bile acids. Current knowledge on genetics, biochemistry and medical implications is presented in this review.

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