Expression of rat aldehyde reductase AKR7A1: influence of age and sex, and tissue-specific inducibility

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    The regulation of the aldo-keto reductase AKR7A1 was examined in the livers of male and female rats during development by using Western blots, and its contribution to carbonyl metabolism was assessed by using enzyme assays. Hepatic levels of AKR7A1 are low in fetal rats and rise to a peak at around 6 weeks of age in animals of both sexes. Higher levels of the enzyme are found in adult male rat liver than in adult female rat liver. The reductase, therefore, appears to be subject to sex-specific regulation. The effect of growth hormone in mediating this difference in expression was examined by using hypophysectomized animals whose serum growth hormone levels had been feminized by continuous administration. Results demonstrate that such treatment leads to a reduction in AKR7A1 expression. AKR7A1 was found to be constitutively expressed in rat tissues such as liver, kidney, small intestine, and testis, but it was not detected in nasal mucosa, skeletal muscle, heart, adrenal gland, brain, or spleen. However, AKR7A1 was inducible by the synthetic antioxidant ethoxyquin in liver, kidney, and small intestine, but not in the other tissues examined. These results show that levels of this important detoxication enzyme vary considerably according to age and sex and that dietary antioxidants can also influence its level in several tissues.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number11728387
    Pages (from-to)1511-1519
    Number of pages9
    JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
    Issue number11
    Early online date26 Nov 2001
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


    • Aldehyde reductase
    • Developmental regulation
    • Fetal expression
    • Sex-specific expression
    • Growth hormone


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