The effects of the neurosteroids: pregnenolone, progesterone and dehydroepiandrosterone on muscarinic receptor-induced responses in Xenopus oocytes expressing M1 and M3 receptors.
ABSTRACT The neurosteroids pregnenolone, progesterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) occur naturally in the nervous system. They act on neural tissues, participate in neuronal signaling, and are reported to alter neuronal excitability via nongenomic mechanisms. Muscarinic receptors have important roles in neuronal functions in the brain and autonomic nervous system. In this study, we investigated the effects of pregnenolone, progesterone, and DHEA on M(1) and M(3) muscarinic receptors using the Xenopus oocyte expression system. Pregnenolone and progesterone inhibited the acetylcholine (ACh)-mediated responses of M(1) and M(3) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes, whereas DHEA did not. The half-maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)) for pregnenolone inhibition of M(1) receptor- and M(3) receptor-mediated currents were 11.4 and 6.0 microM respectively; the IC(50) values for progesterone inhibition of M(1) receptor- and M(3) receptor-mediated currents were 2.5 and 3.0 microM respectively. The selective protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor GF109203X had little effect on the pregnenolone or progesterone inhibition of the ACh-induced currents in Xenopus oocytes expressing M(1) or M(3) receptors. The inhibitory effects of pregnenolone and progesterone were overcome at higher concentrations of ACh. Pregnenolone and progesterone inhibited the [(3)H]quinuclidinyl benzilate (QNB) binding to M(1) and M(3) receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes, and Scatchard plot analysis of [(3)H]QNB binding revealed that pregnenolone and progesterone altered the K(d) value and the B(max), indicating noncompetitive inhibition. In conclusion, pregnenolone and progesterone inhibited M(1) and M(3) receptor functions noncompetitively by the mechanism independent of PKC and by interfering with ACh binding to the receptors.
Article: Oxidative Stress-Mediated Brain Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) Formation in Alzheimer's Disease Diagnosis.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Neurosteroids are steroids made by brain cells independently of peripheral steroidogenic sources. The biosynthesis of most neurosteroids is mediated by proteins and enzymes similar to those identified in the steroidogenic pathway of adrenal and gonadal cells. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a major neurosteroid identified in the brain. Over the years we have reported that, unlike other neurosteroids, DHEA biosynthesis in rat, bovine, and human brain is mediated by an oxidative stress-mediated mechanism, independent of the cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase (CYP17A1) enzyme activity found in the periphery. This alternative pathway is induced by pro-oxidant agents, such as Fe(2+) and β-amyloid peptide. Neurosteroids are involved in many aspects of brain function, and as such, are involved in various neuropathologies, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is a progressive, yet irreversible neurodegenerative disease for which there are limited means for ante-mortem diagnosis. Using brain tissue specimens from control and AD patients, we provided evidence that DHEA is formed in the AD brain by the oxidative stress-mediated metabolism of an unidentified precursor, thus depleting levels of the precursor in the blood stream. We tested for the presence of this DHEA precursor in human serum using a Fe(2+)-based reaction and determined the amounts of DHEA formed. Fe(2+) treatment of the serum resulted in a dramatic increase in DHEA levels in control patients, whereas only a moderate or no increase was observed in AD patients. The DHEA variation after oxidation correlated with the patients' cognitive and mental status. In this review, we present the cumulative evidence for oxidative stress as a natural regulator of DHEA formation and the use of this concept to develop a blood-based diagnostic tool for neurodegenerative diseases linked to oxidative stress, such as AD.Frontiers in endocrinology. 01/2011; 2:69.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The enzymatic pathways leading to the synthesis of bioactive steroids in the brain are now almost completely elucidated in various groups of vertebrates and, during the last decade, the neuronal mechanisms involved in the regulation of neurosteroid production have received increasing attention. This report reviews the current knowledge concerning the effects of neurotransmitters, peptide hormones, and neuropeptides on the biosynthesis of neurosteroids. Anatomical studies have been carried out to visualize the neurotransmitter- or neuropeptide-containing fibers contacting steroid-synthesizing neurons as well as the neurotransmitter, peptide hormones, or neuropeptide receptors expressed in these neurons. Biochemical experiments have been conducted to investigate the effects of neurotransmitters, peptide hormones, or neuropeptides on neurosteroid biosynthesis, and to characterize the type of receptors involved. Thus, it has been found that glutamate, acting through kainate and/or AMPA receptors, rapidly inactivates P450arom, and that melatonin produced by the pineal gland and eye inhibits the biosynthesis of 7α-hydroxypregnenolone (7α-OH-Δ(5)P), while prolactin produced by the adenohypophysis enhances the formation of 7α-OH-Δ(5)P. It has also been demonstrated that the biosynthesis of neurosteroids is inhibited by GABA, acting through GABA(A) receptors, and neuropeptide Y, acting through Y1 receptors. In contrast, it has been shown that the octadecaneuropetide ODN, acting through central-type benzodiazepine receptors, the triakontatetraneuropeptide TTN, acting though peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptors, and vasotocin, acting through V1a-like receptors, stimulate the production of neurosteroids. Since neurosteroids are implicated in the control of various neurophysiological and behavioral processes, these data suggest that some of the neurophysiological effects exerted by neurotransmitters and neuropeptides may be mediated via the regulation of neurosteroid production.Frontiers in endocrinology. 01/2012; 3:4.