Mol Cell Endocrinol 2007 Feb 16;265-266:77-82. Epub 2007 Jan 16.
Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3620 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6084, USA.
Pairs of hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (HSDs) govern ligand access to steroid receptors in target tissues and act as molecular switches. By acting as reductases or oxidases, HSDs convert potent ligands into their cognate inactive metabolites or vice versa. This pre-receptor regulation of steroid hormone action may have profound effects on hormonal response. We have identified the HSDs responsible for regulating ligand access to the androgen receptor (AR) in human prostate. Type 3 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (aldo-keto reductase 1C2) acts solely as a reductase to convert 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a potent ligand for the AR (K(d)=10(-11)M for the AR), to the inactive androgen 3alpha-androstanediol (K(d)=10(-6)M for the AR); while RoDH like 3alpha-HSD (a short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR)) acts solely as an oxidase to convert 3alpha-androstanediol back to 5alpha-DHT. Our studies suggest that aldo-keto reductase (AKRs) and SDRs function as reductases and oxidases, respectively, to control ligand access to nuclear receptors.