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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The expression of 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type I by lymphocytes provides a novel means for intracrine regulation of glucocorticoid activities.

The 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11beta-HSD) enzymes control the interconversion of active glucocorticoids ( GCS) and their inactive 11-keto metabolites, a process commonly referred to as the cortisone/cortisol shuttle. Although the prereceptor metabolism of GCS by 11beta-HSD is well documented in a variety of cells and tissues, it has not yet been carefully investigated in the major cell types of the immune system. In this study, we demonstrate that 11beta-HSD1 transcripts, protein, and enzyme activities are actively expressed in murine CD4(+), CD8(+), and B220(+) lymphocytes, as well as CD11c(+) dendritic cells. Only reductase activity was observed in living cells, evidenced by the restricted conversion of cortisone to cortisol. Activation of CD4(+) T cells increased their 11beta-HSD1 activity, as did their polarization into Th1 or Th2 cells. CD4(+) T cells isolated from aged donors (>16 mo) had increased 11beta-HSD1 protein and an elevated capacity to convert cortisone to cortisol. The GCS generated in murine CD4(+) T cells from their inactive 11-keto metabolites could activate the GCS receptor, demonstrated by an up-regulation of IL-7Ralpha and GCS- induced leucine zipper gene expression. The presence of a functional 11beta-HSD1 provides lymphocytes with a novel intracrine regulatory mechanism that could influence such processes as lymphocyte development, effector function, and susceptibility to apoptosis. Thus, the presence of 11beta-HSD1 provides an additional means to facilitate GCS influences over lymphocyte activities, uncoupled from the plasma concentration of GCS.[1]


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