Horm Metab Res 1999; 31(11): 587-590
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-978801
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© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Expression of C-20, 22 Desmolase Activity by the Human Fallopian Tube In Vitro: Evidence for Steroidogenesis

A. Loganath, K. L. Peh, P. C. T. Chew, Y. C. Wong, S. C. Ng
  • University Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, National University Hospital, Singapore
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Publication Date:
20 April 2007 (online)

With a view to establishing whether cells of the human Fallopian tubes possess the cholesterol side-chain cleavage activity, homogenates of the tubes, obtained from 6 women (39 - 45 years) following abdominal hysterectomy for benign conditions, were incubated with (7n-3H)-cholesterol as substrate. Controls (n = 6, age 40 - 44 years) were homogenates heated in a boiling water bath for 10 min. Using the reverse-isotope dilution technique, (3H)-pregnenolone was isolated and characterized. No such metabolite was evident in control incubations of heat-denatured enzymes. The extent of enzymic conversion varied from 1.9 × 10-3 to 1.3 × 10-2%. The results reveal for the first time the existence of an active cholesterol-specific C-20, 22 desmolase system in the viable tissues. It is suggested that there exists a potential for substantial pregnenolone synthesis in vivo. This rate-limiting steroid biosynthetic conversion provides a new dimension to the functional capacity of the Fallopian tubes in the synthesis of steroids, which may be necessary for modulating ciliary beat frequency and in maintenance of hormonal milieu essential for embryogenesis.