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      Contribution of local regeneration of glucocorticoids to tissue steroid pools


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          11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (11βHSD1) is a drug target to attenuate adverse effects of chronic glucocorticoid excess. It catalyses intracellular regeneration of active glucocorticoids in tissues including brain, liver and adipose tissue (coupled to hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, H6PDH). 11βHSD1 activity in individual tissues is thought to contribute significantly to glucocorticoid levels at those sites, but its local contribution vs glucocorticoid delivery via the circulation is unknown. Here, we hypothesised that hepatic 11βHSD1 would contribute significantly to the circulating pool. This was studied in mice with Cre-mediated disruption of Hsd11b1 in liver ( Alac-Cre) vs adipose tissue ( aP2-Cre) or whole-body disruption of H6pdh. Regeneration of [9,12,12- 2H 3]-cortisol (d3F) from [9,12,12- 2H 3]-cortisone (d3E), measuring 11βHSD1 reductase activity was assessed at steady state following infusion of [9,11,12,12- 2H 4]-cortisol (d4F) in male mice. Concentrations of steroids in plasma and amounts in liver, adipose tissue and brain were measured using mass spectrometry interfaced with matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation or liquid chromatography. Amounts of d3F were higher in liver, compared with brain and adipose tissue. Rates of appearance of d3F were ~6-fold slower in H6pdh −/− mice, showing the importance for whole-body 11βHSD1 reductase activity. Disruption of liver 11βHSD1 reduced the amounts of d3F in liver (by ~36%), without changes elsewhere. In contrast disruption of 11βHSD1 in adipose tissue reduced rates of appearance of circulating d3F (by ~67%) and also reduced regenerated of d3F in liver and brain (both by ~30%). Thus, the contribution of hepatic 11βHSD1 to circulating glucocorticoid levels and amounts in other tissues is less than that of adipose tissue.

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          Lessons on Conditional Gene Targeting in Mouse Adipose Tissue

          Conditional gene targeting has been extensively used for in vivo analysis of gene function in adipocyte cell biology but often with debate over the tissue specificity and the efficacy of inactivation. To directly compare the specificity and efficacy of different Cre lines in mediating adipocyte specific recombination, transgenic Cre lines driven by the adipocyte protein 2 (aP2) and adiponectin (Adipoq) gene promoters, as well as a tamoxifen-inducible Cre driven by the aP2 gene promoter (iaP2), were bred to the Rosa26R (R26R) reporter. All three Cre lines demonstrated recombination in the brown and white fat pads. Using different floxed loci, the individual Cre lines displayed a range of efficacy to Cre-mediated recombination that ranged from no observable recombination to complete recombination within the fat. The Adipoq-Cre exhibited no observable recombination in any other tissues examined, whereas both aP2-Cre lines resulted in recombination in endothelial cells of the heart and nonendothelial, nonmyocyte cells in the skeletal muscle. In addition, the aP2-Cre line can lead to germline recombination of floxed alleles in ∼2% of spermatozoa. Thus, different “adipocyte-specific” Cre lines display different degrees of efficiency and specificity, illustrating important differences that must be taken into account in their use for studying adipose biology.
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            11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 knockout mice show attenuated glucocorticoid-inducible responses and resist hyperglycemia on obesity or stress.

            Glucocorticoid hormones, acting via nuclear receptors, regulate many metabolic processes, including hepatic gluconeogenesis. It recently has been recognized that intracellular glucocorticoid concentrations are determined not only by plasma hormone levels, but also by intracellular 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11beta-HSDs), which interconvert active corticosterone (cortisol in humans) and inert 11-dehydrocorticosterone (cortisone in humans). 11beta-HSD type 2, a dehydrogenase, thus excludes glucocorticoids from otherwise nonselective mineralocorticoid receptors in the kidney. Recent data suggest the type 1 isozyme (11beta-HSD-1) may function as an 11beta-reductase, regenerating active glucocorticoids from circulating inert 11-keto forms in specific tissues, notably the liver. To examine the importance of this enzyme isoform in vivo, mice were produced with targeted disruption of the 11beta-HSD-1 gene. These mice were unable to convert inert 11-dehydrocorticosterone to corticosterone in vivo. Despite compensatory adrenal hyperplasia and increased adrenal secretion of corticosterone, on starvation homozygous mutants had attenuated activation of the key hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes glucose-6-phosphatase and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase, presumably, because of relative intrahepatic glucocorticoid deficiency. The 11beta-HSD-1 -/- mice were found to resist hyperglycamia provoked by obesity or stress. Attenuation of hepatic 11beta-HSD-1 may provide a novel approach to the regulation of gluconeogenesis.
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              11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases: intracellular gate-keepers of tissue glucocorticoid action.

              Glucocorticoid action on target tissues is determined by the density of "nuclear" receptors and intracellular metabolism by the two isozymes of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) which catalyze interconversion of active cortisol and corticosterone with inert cortisone and 11-dehydrocorticosterone. 11β-HSD type 1, a predominant reductase in most intact cells, catalyzes the regeneration of active glucocorticoids, thus amplifying cellular action. 11β-HSD1 is widely expressed in liver, adipose tissue, muscle, pancreatic islets, adult brain, inflammatory cells, and gonads. 11β-HSD1 is selectively elevated in adipose tissue in obesity where it contributes to metabolic complications. Similarly, 11β-HSD1 is elevated in the ageing brain where it exacerbates glucocorticoid-associated cognitive decline. Deficiency or selective inhibition of 11β-HSD1 improves multiple metabolic syndrome parameters in rodent models and human clinical trials and similarly improves cognitive function with ageing. The efficacy of inhibitors in human therapy remains unclear. 11β-HSD2 is a high-affinity dehydrogenase that inactivates glucocorticoids. In the distal nephron, 11β-HSD2 ensures that only aldosterone is an agonist at mineralocorticoid receptors (MR). 11β-HSD2 inhibition or genetic deficiency causes apparent mineralocorticoid excess and hypertension due to inappropriate glucocorticoid activation of renal MR. The placenta and fetus also highly express 11β-HSD2 which, by inactivating glucocorticoids, prevents premature maturation of fetal tissues and consequent developmental "programming." The role of 11β-HSD2 as a marker of programming is being explored. The 11β-HSDs thus illuminate the emerging biology of intracrine control, afford important insights into human pathogenesis, and offer new tissue-restricted therapeutic avenues.

                Author and article information

                J Endocrinol
                J Endocrinol
                The Journal of Endocrinology
                Bioscientifica Ltd (Bristol )
                20 June 2022
                21 June 2023
                01 September 2023
                : 258
                : 3
                : e230034
                [1 ]Centre for Cardiovascular Science , Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
                [2 ]Centre for Discovery Brain Science , University of Edinburgh, Hugh Robson Building, Edinburgh, UK
                [3 ]College of Medical and Dental Sciences , University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
                [4 ]Department of Biosciences , School of Science & Technology, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK
                [5 ]Mass Spectrometry Core Laboratory , Edinburgh Clinical Research Facility, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
                [6 ]SIRCAMS , School of Chemistry, University of Edinburgh, Joseph Black Building, King's Buildings, Edinburgh, UK
                [7 ]Clinical & Translational Research Institute , Newcastle University, International Centre for Life, Central Parkway, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence should be addressed to R Andrew: ruth.andrew@ 123456ed.ac.uk
                Author information
                © the author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

                : 31 January 2023
                : 20 June 2022

                Endocrinology & Diabetes
                11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1,hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase,glucocorticoid,liver,adipose tissue,brain


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