Expression and regulation of steroid metabolizing enzymes in cells of the nervous and skeletal systems: Special focus on vitamin D metabolism

  • Date: 18 January, 13:15
  • Location: B7:101a, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doctoral student: Almokhtar, Mokhtar
  • About the dissertation
  • Organiser: Institutionen för farmaceutisk biovetenskap
  • Contact person: Almokhtar, Mokhtar
  • Disputation

Little is known about the mechanisms of vitamin D actions in the brain and bone. In this study, the metabolism of vitamin D and its regulation in various cell cultures of the nervous and skeletal systems were examined.

Human osteosarcoma Saos-2 cells, human primary osteoblasts (hOB) and murine motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells were found to express mRNA for all enzymes required in vitamin D3 metabolism as well as the vitamin D receptor (VDR) that mediates vitamin D actions. Also, production of 24,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 was found in these cells. Studies on vitamin D metabolism in NSC-34 cells and in primary neuron-enriched cells from rat cerebral cortex indicate formation of a previously unknown major metabolite formed from 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Evaluation of the NSC-34 cells suggests that this cell line could be a novel model for studies of neuronal vitamin D metabolism and its regulation by endogenous and exogenous compounds.

Treatment with glucocorticoids down regulated mRNA expression for the CYP24A1 gene in Saos-2 and hOB cells. Additionally, the glucocorticoid prednisolone showed suppression of CYP24A1-mediated metabolism and CYP24A1 promoter activity in Saos-2 cells. In NSC-34 cells, CYP24A1 mRNA levels were up-regulated by prednisolone, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and its synthetic analogues, EB1089 and tacalcitol. Formation of an endogenous glucocorticoid, 11-deoxycortisol, was observed in Saos-2 cells. Effects of glucocorticoids on the vitamin D system in bone cells may contribute to the adverse side effects in long-term treatment with glucocorticoids. Also, there may be a correlation between the administration of corticosteroids and adverse effects in the CNS.

Expression and effects of vitamin D on steroidogenic enzymes were studied in primary neuron-enriched rat cortex cells, primary rat astrocytes and human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. These different cell cultures all expressed CYP17A1, whereas only astrocytes expressed 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD). 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppressed mRNA levels and enzyme activity of CYP17A1 in SH-SY5Y cells and astrocytes. 1α,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppressed enzyme activity and mRNA levels of 3β-HSD in astrocytes. The results suggest that vitamin D-mediated regulation of CYP17A1 and 3β-HSD may play a role in the nervous system.

The results presented here contribute to our understanding of vitamin D metabolism and effects of glucocorticoids in the brain and bone.