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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2003 Jul 4;115(1):39-49.

StAR and steroidogenic enzyme transcriptional regulation in the rat brain: effects of acute alcohol administration.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Institute of Health Science, College of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University, 92 Chilam-dong, Jinju 660-751, South Korea.


In this study, we showed the presence of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) mRNA in the rat brain using Northern blot analysis and revealed its localization using in situ hybridization histochemistry. Although the expression level is less than peripheral steroidogenic organs, the brain has two kinds of StAR transcripts with the same size as peripheral endocrine organs. As expected, StAR mRNA levels were maintained in the brain after gonadectomy and adrenalectomy, which indicates its independent expression. Acute alcohol administration affected the mRNA expression of a variety of steroidogenic enzymes, as well as StAR, in several brain regions, and these changes varied from one region to another. It is suggested that StAR may take part in brain steroidogenesis along with steroidogenic enzymes and that various neurosteroids are synthesized differentially to meet local demands.

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