The effects of progesterone, pregnenolone, estriol, ACTH and hCG on steroid secretion of cultured human fetal adrenals

Voutilainen, R.; Kahri, A.I.; Salmenperä, M.

Journal of Steroid Biochemistry 10(6): 695-700


ISSN/ISBN: 0022-4731
PMID: 224267
DOI: 10.1016/0022-4731(79)90523-5
Accession: 068524702

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Endogenous steroid secretion and the conversion of exogenous pregnenolone and progesterone were studied in tissue culture of human mid-term fetal adrenals. Addition of pregnenolone on the 1st day of cultivation caused an increase in DHAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) and pregnenolone sulfate secretion during the 1st cultivation days, but no significant increase in cortisol production was noted. Progesterone at the same stage of cultivation was effectively converted into cortisol indicating that human fetal adrenals in spite of the lack of 3.beta.-HSD (3.beta.-OH-steroid dehydrogenase) are capable of syntheszing efficiently cortisol using exogenous (in vivo placental) progesterone as a substrate. During later stages of cultivation pregnenolone was converted into pregnenolone sulfate, but not into DHAS, indicating that sulfokinase activity is maintained in cultured adrenal cells. Estriol and estradiol-17.beta. inhibited steroidogenesis in ACTH-stimulated tissue culture, and the inhibition step seemed to be 3.beta.-HSD-step. The demanded concentrations of estrogens for significant inhibition were unphysiological. Estriol-3-sulfate and DHAS did not inhibit steroidogenesis. Human chorionic gonadotropin did not stimulate DHA or DHAS production, neither did it modify the stimulatory effect of ACTH towards these estrogen precursors.