Cell-type-specific expression of rat steroid 5α-reductase isozymes

David M. Berman, David W. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The enzyme steroid 5α-reductase (EC is a component of an intercellular signaling pathway that determines cell fate in the primordium of the mammalian reproductive tract. During male phenotypic sexual differentiation, the dihydrotestosterone product of this enzyme binds to the androgen receptor and initiates development of the external genitalia and prostate. Genes encoding two isozymes of steroid 5α-reductase with different biochemical properties and tissue distributions have recently been isolated. In the current study, we utilize in situ hybridization analysis to determine cell-type-specific expression patterns of the 5α-reductase isozyme mRNAs in two androgen target tissues (regenerating ventral prostate and epididymis) and a peripheral tissue (liver). In regenerating ventral prostate, the type 1 mRNA is expressed in basal epithelial cells whereas expression of the type 2 mRNA is largely confined to stromal cells. These results were confirmed by immunohistochemical analysis and are consistent with distinct roles played by the isozymes in the prostate. In the epididymis, both 5α-reductase isozyme mRNAs are expressed in epithelial cells. Only the type 1 mRNA is present in the liver. This mRNA is distributed in a striking spatial gradient extending from hepatocytes surrounding the portal triad (high expression) to those surrounding the central vein (low to absent expression). These findings demonstrate cell-type-specific expression of the steroid 5α-reductase isozymes and underscore their distinct and overlapping functions in androgen physiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9359-9363
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 15 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Androgens
  • Epithelium
  • Prostate
  • Sexual development
  • Stroma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Genetics


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