Selective ability of rat 7-Dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7) to act on some 7-Dehydrocholesterol metabolites but not on lumisterol metabolites

Robert C. Tuckey, Edith K.Y. Tang, Yunzhi A. Chen, Andrzej T. Slominski

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8 Citations (Scopus)


7-Dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR7) catalyses the final step of cholesterol biosynthesis in the Kandutsch-Russel pathway, the reduction of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7DHC) to cholesterol. 7DHC can be acted on by a range of other enzymes including CYP27A1 and CYP11A1, as well as by UVB radiation, producing a number of derivatives including hydroxy-metabolites, some of which retain the C7-C8 double bond and are biologically active. These metabolites include lumisterol (L3) which is a stereoisomer of 7DHC produced in the skin by UVB radiation of 7DHC, as well as vitamin D3. The aim of this study was to test whether these metabolites could act as substrates or inhibitors of DHCR7 in rat liver microsomes. To initially screen the ability of these metabolites to interact with the active site of DHCR7, their ability to inhibit the conversion of ergosterol to brassicasterol was measured. Sterols that significantly inhibited this reaction included 7DHC (as expected), 20S(OH)7DHC, 27(OH)DHC, 8DHC, 20S(OH)L3 and 22(OH)L3 but not 7-dehydropregnenolone (7DHP), 25(OH)7DHC, L3 or vitamin D3 and its hydroxyderivatives. Sterols that inhibited ergosterol reduction were directly tested as substrates for DHCR7. 20S(OH)7DHC, 27(OH)DHC and 7-dehydrodesmosterol were confirmed to be substrates, giving the expected product with the C7-C8 double bond removed. No products were observed from 8DHC or 20S(OH)L3 indicating that these sterols are inhibitors and not substrates of DHCR7. The resistance of lumisterol and 7DHP to reduction by DHCR7 in cells will permit other enzymes to metabolise these sterols to their active forms retaining the C7-C8 double bond, conferring specificity to their biological actions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105929
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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