Ethanol rapidly induces steroidogenic acute regulatory protein expression and translocation in rat adrenal gland

Eur J Pharmacol. 2003 Jul 25;473(2-3):225-7. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(03)01969-1.


Acute ethanol exposure increases GABAergic neuroactive steroids in plasma and brain by releasing these steroids or their precursors from the adrenal glands. The present study showed that ethanol administration rapidly increases the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) in the cytosolic and mitochondrial fractions of adrenal glands. The increased StAR protein expression paralleled increases in plasma pregnenolone, progesterone and corticosterone levels. The rapid synthesis and translocation of StAR protein in adrenals likely represent the mechanism of ethanol-induced increases in neuroactive steroids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / drug effects
  • Adrenal Glands / metabolism*
  • Adrenal Glands / ultrastructure
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Pregnenolone / blood
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Protein Transport
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Phosphoproteins
  • steroidogenic acute regulatory protein
  • Ethanol
  • Progesterone
  • Pregnenolone
  • Corticosterone