Adrenal Cushing syndrome (CS) is caused by the overproduction of cortisol in adrenocortical tumors including adrenal cortisol-producing adenoma (CPA). In CS, steroidogenic enzymes such as 17α-hydroxylase/17, 20-lase (CYP17A1), 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD3B), and 11β-hydroxylase (CYP11B1) are abundantly expressed in tumor cells. In addition, several transcriptional factors have been reported to play pivotal roles in the regulation of these enzymes in CPA, but their correlations with those enzymes above have still remained largely unknown. Therefore, in this study, we examined the status of steroidogenic enzymes and their transcriptional factors in 78 and 15 CPA cases by using immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), respectively. Immunoreactivity of HSD3B2, CYP11B1, CYP17A1, steroidogenic factor-1 (SF1[NR5A1]), GATA6, and nerve growth factor induced-B (NGFIB[NR4A1]) was detected in tumor cells. Results of qPCR analysis revealed that expression of HSD3B2 mRNA was significantly higher than that of HSD3B1, and CYP11B1 mRNA was significantly higher than CYP11B2. In addition, the expression of CYP11B1 mRNA was positively correlated with those of NR5A1, GATA6, and NR4A1. These results all indicated that HSD3B2 but not HSD3B1 was mainly involved in cortisol overproduction in CPA. In addition, NR5A1, GATA6, and NR4A1 were all considered to play important roles in cortisol overproduction through regulating CYP11B1 gene transcription.
- Cortisol-producing adrenocortical adenoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine