Free radical research

Non-genomic, direct modulatory effect of 17β-estradiol, progesterone and their synthetic derivatives on the activity of human erythrocyte CuZn superoxide dismutase.

PMID 23297859


This study aimed to evaluate whether natural or synthetic steroid hormones could directly modulate the activity of the different superoxide dismutase (SOD) isoforms found in human blood fractions without changing enzyme expression. Enzyme samples of human erythrocytes, the human platelet-rich plasma fraction (PRP) or isolated CuZnSOD, which was purified from human erythrocytes were pre-incubated with natural steroids (17β-estradiol 17-acetate and progesterone) and their synthetic derivatives (β-estradiol 3-benzoate and medroxyprogesterone 17-acetate). Then, CuZn and MnSOD activities were measured using the xanthine/xanthine oxidase/nitroblue tetrazolium method. Hormones had no effect on MnSOD activity from the PRP, but we show for the first time that natural and synthetic steroid hormones have a direct, bell-shaped effect on the activity of CuZnSOD from both male and female human erythrocytes. Low (physiological) hormone concentrations caused a dose-dependent increase in enzyme activity, which disappeared at higher hormone concentrations. In addition, the combination of synthetic and natural estrogens and progestins had a synergistic stimulatory effect on the activity of CuZnSOD from human erythrocytes. The molecular interaction between CuZnSOD and steroid hormones was preliminarily studied. Natural hormones did not change the electrophoretic mobility of SOD under denaturing conditions, but they did increase the absorption spectra of SOD in the 230-290 nm range. These data suggest that hormone-mediated modulation of CuZnSOD is related to subtle changes in protein conformation, possibly related to Trp and Phe residues. We propose that this effect may account for the physiological regulation of enzyme activity during conditions where steroid hormones undergo alterations as the ovulatory cycle.

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β-Estradiol 3-benzoate, VETRANAL®, analytical standard