Tissue distribution of human AKR1C3 and rat homolog in the adult genitourinary system

J Histochem Cytochem. 2008 Sep;56(9):853-61. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2008.951384. Epub 2008 Jun 23.


Human aldo-keto reductase (AKR) 1C3 (type 2 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/type 5 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase) catalyzes androgen, estrogen, and prostaglandin metabolism. AKR1C3 is therefore implicated in regulating ligand access to the androgen receptor, estrogen receptor, and peroxisome proliferator activating receptor gamma in hormone target tissues. Recent reports on close relationships between ARK1C3 and various cancers including breast and prostate cancers implicate the involvement of AKR1C3 in cancer development or progression. We previously described the characterization of an isoform-specific monoclonal antibody against AKR1C3 that does not cross-react with related, >86% sequence identity, human AKR1C1, AKR1C2, or AKR1C4, human aldehyde reductase AKR1A1, or rat 3alpha-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (AKR1C9). In this study, a clone of murine monoclonal antibody raised against AKR1C3 was identified and characterized for its recognition of rat homolog. Tissue distribution of human AKR1C3 and its rat homolog in adult genitourinary systems including kidney, bladder, prostate, and testis was studied by IHC. A strong immunoreactivity was detected not only in classically hormone-associated tissues such as prostate and testis but also in non-hormone-associated tissues such as kidney and bladder in humans and rats. The distribution of these two enzymes was comparable but not identical between the two species. These features warrant future studies of AKR1C3 in both hormone- and non-hormone-associated tissues and identification of the rodent homolog for establishing animal models.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / immunology
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / immunology
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • 3-alpha-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase (B-Specific) / immunology
  • 3-alpha-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase (B-Specific) / metabolism*
  • Aldo-Keto Reductase Family 1 Member C3
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases / immunology
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Multienzyme Complexes / immunology
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Species Specificity
  • Urogenital System / enzymology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • 3-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • Hydroxyprostaglandin Dehydrogenases
  • AKR1C3 protein, human
  • AKR1C3 protein, rat
  • Aldo-Keto Reductase Family 1 Member C3
  • 3-alpha-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase (B-Specific)