2005 Volume 52 Issue 1 Pages 111-115
3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) is known to be involved in steroid production and/or metabolism and to be expressed in many tissues including adrenal cortex. Expression of this enzyme has also been elucidated in human cardiovascular system but its details remain largely unknown. Therefore, in this study, we examined the status of 3β-HSD in postmortem human aorta utilizing RT-PCR and immunohistochemical analysis. Both mRNAs and immunoreactivity for the enzyme were detected predominantly in female aorta, and in those with mild atherosclerotic changes. In addition, immunohistochemical study demonstrated that immunoreactivity for 3β-HSD was detected in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) of aorta. These findings all indicated that steroidogenesis via 3β-HSD may occur in VSMCs of human aorta, possibly related to gender differences and/or the degree of atherosclerosis.