CYP27A1 and CYP7B1 are widely expressed in various human tissues and are two key enzymes involved in the pathways for conversion of cholesterol to bile acids. Also, CYP27A1 is involved in bioactivation of vitamin D3 and CYP7B1 plays a role in 7alpha-hydroxylation of dehydroepiandrosterone and other steroids. Both enzymes have been reported to be relevant to prostate cell proliferation. The current study examines the hormonal regulation of CYP27A1 and CYP7B1.
CYP7B1 was shown to be regulated by estrogens and androgens in human embryonic kidney HEK293 and prostate cancer LNCaP cells. Quantitation of CYP7B1 mRNA in adult and fetal human tissues showed markedly higher CYP7B1 mRNA levels in fetal tissues compared with the corresponding adult ones, except in the liver. This indicates a tissue-specific, developmental regulation of CYP7B1 and suggests an important function for this enzyme in fetal life. CYP7B1 regulation by estrogens may be of importance in fetal development and in other processes where CYP7B1 is involved, including cholesterol homeostasis, cellular proliferation, and CNS function. The regulation of CYP7B1 by sex hormones also suggests an important role for CYP7B1 in balancing prostate hormone levels in human cells.
Results show that CYP27A1 can be regulated by dexamethasone, growth hormone, IGF-1, PMA, estrogens and androgens in liver-derived HepG2 cells. Dexamethasone, growth hormone and IGF-1 stimulated the promoter and endogenous activity of CYP27A1, whereas thyroid hormones and PMA inhibited CYP27A1. The regulatory effects of estrogens and androgens are different depending on the cell types. Thus, the results imply that human CYP27A1 gene is a target for estrogens and androgens, and the expression of CYP27A1 may be affected by endogenous sex hormones and pharmacological compounds with estrogenic or androgenic effects.
The mechanism for the dexamethasone-induced effect on the human CYP27A1 promoter was examined. A GRE was identified important for GR-mediated regulation of CYP27A1 transcriptional activity.