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General and comparative endocrinology

Identification of 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone, a novel bioactive amphibian neurosteroid stimulating locomotor activity, and its physiological roles in the regulation of locomotion.


PMID 20138182

Abstract

We now know that steroids can be synthesized de novo by the brain and the peripheral nervous system. Such steroids are called neurosteroids and de novo neurosteroidogenesis from cholesterol is a conserved property of vertebrate brains. Our studies over the past decade have demonstrated that the brain expresses several kinds of steroidogenic enzymes and produces a variety of neurosteroids in sub-mammalian species. However, neurosteroid biosynthetic pathways in amphibians, as well as other vertebrates may still not be fully mapped. We first found that the newt brain actively produces 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone, a previously undescribed amphibian neurosteroid. We then demonstrated that 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone acts as a novel bioactive neurosteroid to stimulate locomotor activity of newt by means of the dopaminergic system. Subsequently, we analyzed the physiological roles of 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone in the regulation of locomotor activity of newt. This paper summarizes the advances made in our understanding of 7alpha-hydroxypregnenolone, a newly discovered bioactive amphibian neurosteroid stimulating locomotor activity, and its physiological roles in the regulation of locomotion in newt.

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H5002
17α-Hydroxypregnenolone
C21H32O3