The enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (11βHSD2) confers specificity on the renal mineralocorticoid receptor by inactivating glucocorticoids. Mutations in this gene give rise to the syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess, a congenital condition characterized by sodium retention, severe hypertension, and often by growth retardation. It is not known whether 11βHSD2 or another enzyme confers specificity in nonrenal sodium transporting epithelia, such as those in the sweat gland, salivary gland, and gastrointestinal tract. We previously have used the HUH23 antibody to localize 11βHSD2 in the human kidney, vascular smooth muscle cells, and placenta. In the present study, we have examined a range of human epithelia for the presence of 11βHSD2. In the skin, staining was seen in eccrine sweat glands and arterioles, whereas weak HUH23 immunostaining was observed in the epidermis. Staining was absent from sebaceous glands and hair follicles. In the parotid gland, the 11βHSD2 enzyme was present in striated and excretory ducts, whereas in the submandibular gland, it was found in striated and interlobular ducts. Acini, adipocytes, and associated tumor tissue did not stain with the HUH23 antibody. In the gastrointestinal tract, HUH23 stained ileal enterocytes, colonic absorptive ceils, and epithelial goblet cells, whereas the rectum contained areas of staining and nonstaining absorptive cells. Gastrointestinal structures, such as the lamina propria, Peyer's patch, and goblet cells within the crypts of Lieberkuhn did not stain with the antibody. This study demonstrates the presence of 11βHSD2 in nonrenal sodium-transporting epithelia and describes a range of tissues affected in the syndrome of apparent mineralocorticoid excess.
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