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      Expression of messenger ribonucleic acid species encoding steroidogenic enzymes in human follicles and corpora lutea throughout the menstrual cycle.

      The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

      3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases, genetics, Adult, Aromatase, Blotting, Northern, Cholesterol Side-Chain Cleavage Enzyme, Corpus Luteum, enzymology, DNA, isolation & purification, Estrogens, biosynthesis, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Humans, Menstrual Cycle, Molecular Probe Techniques, Ovarian Follicle, Progesterone, RNA, Messenger, Steroid 17-alpha-Hydroxylase, Steroid Hydroxylases

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          The levels of expression of mRNA species encoding cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P-450 (P450scc), 17 alpha-hydroxylase cytochrome P450 (P450(17 alpha], aromatase cytochrome P-450 (P-450AROM), and 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta HSD) were examined in human follicles and corpora lutea (CL) throughout the menstrual cycle. Tissues were obtained from women undergoing hysterectomy and oophorectomy. The largest follicle or the CL was dissected from the ovary depending on whether the surgery was performed in the follicular or luteal phase. The day of the cycle was determined by onset of last menstrual period and was confirmed by endometrial histology. Total RNA was examined by Northern blot analysis, using as probes specific 32P-labeled cDNA inserts encoding each human enzyme. Early follicles demonstrated detectable mRNA for both P450scc and P450(17 alpha), but not for P450AROM or 3 beta HSD. P450AROM was detectable late in the follicular phase and appeared markedly induced in the CL. 3 beta HSD was detectable only in the CL. Levels of P450(17 alpha) mRNA remained relatively unchanged throughout the cycle, whereas P450scc mRNA levels were greatly increased in the CL. The presence of P450(17 alpha) mRNA in the human CL is of interest, since it is absent from the bovine CL, and this is consistent with the ability of the human, but not the bovine, CL to synthesize 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone and estrogens. The fact that P450AROM expression is highest in CL is surprising, since plasma estrogen levels are highest during the late follicular phase of the cycle, and may suggest that CL estrogen biosynthesis is limited by 17 alpha-hydroxylase or 17,20-lyase activities.

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