Semin Reprod Med 1999; 17(1): 53-61
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-1016212
Copyright © 1999 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc.

Expression of 11 β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase in Early Pregnancy: Implications in Human Trophoblast-Endometrial Interactions

Felice Arcuri 1 , Silvia Sestini 2 , Marcella Cintorino 1
  • 1Institute of Pathological Anatomy and Histology and
  • 2Department of Molecular Biology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy
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Publication History

Publication Date:
15 March 2008 (online)


Glucocorticoid hormone action in target tissues is modulated by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD), which interconverts active Cortisol and corticosterone and their inert 11-keto metabolites, cortisone and 11-dehydrocorticosterone. Two different 11 β- HSD isoforms exist: a low-affinity NADP-dependent dehydrogenase/oxoreductase (11β- HSD1) and a high-affinity NAD-dependent dehydrogenase (11β-HSD2). This brief review describes the expression and distribution of 11β-HSD isoforms in human placenta. In particular, it discusses the results of studies dealing with expression 11β-HSD activity in experimental models representative of the fetomaternal interface in the early gestation. The findings have implications in terms of protection the fetus against corticosteroid toxicity and modulation of active glucocorticoid levels and their biological effects in early pregnancy.