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J Steroid Biochem. 1989 Aug;33(2):257-62.

Formation of lipoidal steroids in follicular fluid.

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MRC Group in Molecular Endocrinology, Le Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval, Ste-Foy, Québec, Canada.


The presence of high levels of lipoidal pregnenolone in follicular fluid has recently been established although no evidence has been presented concerning its possible origin. The following investigation focuses on the enzymatic conversion of non-conjugated steroids into their lipoidal derivatives in preovulatory follicular fluid obtained from women undergoing in vitro fertilization. Our observations indicated that pregnenolone, an important precursor steroid, was acylated at a similar rate as cholesterol in follicular fluid. Similar studies were subsequently conducted with serum obtained from a pool of normal women and women undergoing follicular stimulation which showed little difference to the results obtained in follicular fluid. Further studies using dehydroepiandrosterone, androst-5-ene-3 beta,17 beta-diol, estradiol and dihydrotestosterone were were also performed to monitor their respective lipoidal conversion percentages in follicular fluid which revealed a marked difference of conversion rates between steroids. The indirect identification of the lipoidal pregnenolone derivatives formed in follicular fluid was also conducted by incubating radiolabelled pregnenolone in follicular fluid. The fatty acid components of the resulting lipoidal pregnenolone derivatives showed a marked resemblance to those of cholesteryl esters formed in plasma by the enzymatic activity of lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase. The pregnenolone derivatives were comprised predominantly of unsaturated fatty acids such as linoleate, palmitoleate, oleate, linolenate and arachidonate while saturated fatty acids, namely palmitate, constituted 20% of the total lipoidal pregnenolone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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