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Identification of neuroactive steroids and their precursors and metabolites in adult male rat brain

Ebner, MJ; Corol, DI; Havlikova, H; Honour, JW; Fry, JP; (2006) Identification of neuroactive steroids and their precursors and metabolites in adult male rat brain. Endocrinology , 147 (1) 179 - 190. 10.1210/en.2005-1065. Green open access

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Abstract

Steroids in the brain arise both from local synthesis and from peripheral sources and have a variety of effects on neuronal function. However, there is little direct chemical evidence for the range of steroids present in brain or of the pathways for their synthesis and inactivation. This information is a prerequisite for understanding the regulation and function of brain steroids. After extraction from adult male rat brain, we have fractionated free steroids and their sulfate esters and then converted them to heptafluorobutyrate or methyloxime-trimethylsilyl ether derivatives for unequivocal identification and assay by gas chromatography analysis and selected ion monitoring mass spectrometry. In the free steroid fraction, corticosterone, 3 alpha, 5 alpha-tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone were found in the absence of detectable precursors usually found in endocrine glands, indicating peripheral sources and/or alternative synthetic pathways in brain. Conversely, the potent neuroactive steroid 3 alpha, 5 alpha-tetrahydroprogesterone ( allopregnanolone) was found in the presence of its precursors pregnenolone, progesterone, and 5 alpha-dihydroprogesterone. Furthermore, the presence of 3 alpha-, 11 alpha-, 17 alpha-, and 20 alpha-hydroxylated metabolites of 3 alpha, 5 alpha-tetrahydroprogesterone implicated possible inactivation pathways for this steroid. The 20 alpha-reduced metabolites could also be found for pregnenolone, progesterone, and 5 alpha-dihydroprogesterone, introducing a possible regulatory diversion from the production of 3 alpha, 5 alpha-tetrahydroprogesterone. In the steroid sulfate fraction, dehydroepiandrostrone sulfate was identified but not pregnenolone sulfate. Although pharmacologically active, identification of the latter appears to be an earlier methodological artifact, and the compound is thus of doubtful physiological significance in the adult brain. Our results provide a basis for elucidating the origins and regulation of brain steroids.

Type: Article
Title: Identification of neuroactive steroids and their precursors and metabolites in adult male rat brain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1210/en.2005-1065
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2005-1065
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2006 by The Endocrine Society.
Keywords: chromatography-mass spectrometry, different endocrine states, human female brain, GABA(A) receptors, pregnenolone sulfate, gas-chromatography, neurosteroids, progesterone, plasma, dehydroepiandrosterone
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/191787
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