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Endocr Rev. 2004 Oct;25(5):831-66.

11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1: a tissue-specific regulator of glucocorticoid response.

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  • 1Endocrinology, Division of Medical Sciences, University of Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TH, UK.

Abstract

11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) interconverts inactive cortisone and active cortisol. Although bidirectional, in vivo it is believed to function as a reductase generating active glucocorticoid at a prereceptor level, enhancing glucocorticoid receptor activation. In this review, we discuss both the genetic and enzymatic characterization of 11beta-HSD1, as well as describing its role in physiology and pathology in a tissue-specific manner. The molecular basis of cortisone reductase deficiency, the putative "11beta-HSD1 knockout state" in humans, has been defined and is caused by intronic mutations in HSD11B1 that decrease gene transcription together with mutations in hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, an endoluminal enzyme that provides reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate as cofactor to 11beta-HSD1 to permit reductase activity. We speculate that hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity and therefore reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide phosphate supply may be crucial in determining the directionality of 11beta-HSD1 activity. Therapeutic inhibition of 11beta-HSD1 reductase activity in patients with obesity and the metabolic syndrome, as well as in glaucoma and osteoporosis, remains an exciting prospect.

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