The relevance of chemical interactions with CYP17 enzyme activity: Assessment using a novelin vitroassay


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Abstract

The steroidogenic cytochrome P450 17 (CYP17) enzyme produces dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is the most abundant circulating endogenous sex steroid precursor. DHEA plays a key role in e.g. sexual functioning and development. To date, no rapid screening assay for effects on CYP17 is available. In this study, a novel assay using porcine adrenal cortex microsomes (PACMs) was described. Effects of twenty-eight suggested endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) on CYP17 activity were compared with effects in the US EPA validated H295R (human adrenocorticocarcinoma cell line) steroidogenesis assay. In the PACM assay DHEA production was higher compared with the H295R assay (4.4 versus 2.2 nmol/h/mg protein). To determine the additional value of a CYP17 assay, all compounds were also tested for interaction with CYP19 (aromatase) using human placental microsomes (HPMs) and H295R cells. 62.5% of the compounds showed enzyme inhibition in at least one of the microsomal assays. Only the cAMP inducer forskolin induced CYP17 activity, while CYP19 was induced by four test compounds in the H295R assay. These effects remained unnoticed in the PACM and HPM assays. Diethylstilbestrol and tetrabromobisphenol A inhibited CYP17 but not CYP19 activity, indicating different mechanisms for the inhibition of these enzymes. From our results it becomes apparent that CYP17 can be a target for EDCs and that this interaction differs from interactions with CYP19. Our data strongly suggest that research attention should focus on validating a specific assay for CYP17 activity, such as the PACM assay, that can be included in the EDC screening battery.Highlights▸ DHEA, produced by CYP17, plays a key role in sexual functioning and development. ▸ No rapid screening assay for effects on CYP17 is available yet. ▸ A novel assay using porcine adrenal cortex microsomes (PACMs) was described. ▸ Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) targeting CYP17 interact differently with CYP19. ▸ A specific CYP17 assay is a valuable screening for effects early in steroidogenesis.

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