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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2014 Jan 25;382(1):131-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2013.09.014. Epub 2013 Sep 25.

Immunolocalization of murine type VI 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in the adrenal gland, testis, skin, and placenta.

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  • 1Department of Systems Biology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.


The enzyme 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/isomerase (3β-HSD) is essential for the biosynthesis of all active steroid hormones, such as those secreted from the adrenal gland, testis, ovary, skin and placenta. The 3β-HSD enzymes exist in multiple isoforms in humans and rodents. To date, six different isoforms have been identified in the mouse, and these isoforms are speculated to play different roles in different tissues. We previously showed that the murine type VI 3β-HSD isoform (Hsd3b6) is expressed specifically in the aldosterone-producing zona glomerulosa cells within the adrenal gland and that its overexpression causes abnormally increased aldosterone synthesis, revealing a crucial (or rate-limiting) role of this enzyme in steroidogenesis. However, potential contributions of this enzyme to the steroid hormone synthesis outside the adrenal glands are poorly understood. This paucity of knowledge is partly because of the lack of isoform-specific antibody that can be used for immunohistochemistry. Here, we report the development and characterization of specific antibody to Hsd3b6 and show the results of immunohistochemistry for the adrenal gland, testis, ovary, skin and placenta. As expected, Hsd3b6 immunoreactivities within the adrenal gland were essentially confined to the zona glomerulosa cells, where aldosterone is produced. By contrast, no immunopositive cells were observed in the zona fasciculata, which is where corticosterone is produced. In the gonads, while the ovaries did not show any detectable immunoreactivity to Hsd3b6, the testes displayed intense immunoreactivities within the interstitial Leydig cells, where testosterone is produced. In the skin, positive immunoreactivities to Hsd3b6 were only seen in the sebaceous glands, suggesting a specific role of this enzyme in sebaceous function. Moreover, in the placenta, Hsd3b6 was specifically found in the giant trophoblast cells surrounding the embryonic cavity, which suggests a role for this enzyme in local progesterone production that is required for proper embryonic implantation and/or maintenance of pregnancy. Taken together, our data revealed that Hsd3b6 is localized in multiple specific tissues and cell types, perhaps thereby involved in biosynthesis of a number of tissue-specific steroid hormones with different physiological roles.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


3β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/isomerase; Hsd3b6; Steroidogenesis

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