C21-steroids inactivation and glucocorticoid synthesis in the developing lung.

  • Date de publication : 2015-02-09


Boucher E, Provost PR, Tremblay Y. C21-steroids inactivation and glucocorticoid synthesis in the developing lung. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 2015;147:70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2014.11.025. PubMed PMID: 25434283.

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11-beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases 20-alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase animals biosynthetic pathways cells, cultured corticosterone female glucocorticoids lung mice, inbred balb c progesterone steroid 21-hydroxylase steroids


Glucocorticoids (GCs) are important regulators of lung development. The genes normally involved in GC synthesis in adrenals are co-expressed with 20α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (20α-HSD) in the developing lung. In this study, C21-steroid metabolism was investigated in fetal and postnatal mouse lungs. Incubation of [(3)H]-progesterone with lung explant cultures of different perinatal developmental time points revealed two different (antenatal vs. postnatal) complex metabolization patterns. Progesterone inactivation was predominant. 20αOH-derivatives were more abundant after birth and some metabolites were 5α-reduced. Using [(3)H]-progesterone as substrate, corticosterone synthesis was only observed in a fraction of lung explants from gestation day (GD) 15.5. Neither aldosterone synthase nor P450c17 activity was observed. With epithelial-enriched primary cell cultures, deoxycorticosterone synthesis from [(3)H]-progesterone was observed. With lung explants incubated with [(3)H]-corticosterone as substrate, [(3)H]-4-pregnen-21-ol-3,11,20-trione (11-dehydrocorticosterone), the product of 11β-HSD2, accumulated in higher proportion on GD 15.5 than at later developmental time points. The temporal correlation observed between levels of progesterone inactivation by 20α-HSD (higher after birth) and the sensitivity of lung development to GCs suggests a role for 20α-HSD in the modulation of GR occupancy through the control of 21-hydroxylase substrate and product levels. In conclusion, the developing lung is characterized by effective inactivation of c21-steroids by 20α-HSD. The formation of active GCs from the "adrenal"-like pathway was observed with some lung explants and primary epithelial cell cultures. Coexistence of this GC synthesis pathway with 20α-HSD activity strongly suggests local regulation of GC action and is compatible with intracrine/paracrine actions of GC.