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, 77 (1-2), 27-35

Tissue Physiology and Pathology of Aromatase


Tissue Physiology and Pathology of Aromatase

Carlos Stocco. Steroids.


Aromatase is expressed in multiple tissues, indicating a crucial role for locally produced oestrogens in the differentiation, regulation and normal function of several organs and processes. This review is an overview of the role of aromatase in different tissues under normal physiological conditions and its contribution to the development of some oestrogen-related pathologies.


Figure. Tissue expression profile of aromatase
Ovary: A, B, C, D - [Adapted from 131]. Aromatase is detectable in the ovarian follicles of the rat at dioestrus (A) and pro-oestrus (B). Notice the gradient of expression in the granulosa cell layer. Aromatase is expressed in the human corpus luteum during the later luteal phase (C) and significantly increases after rescue of this gland during early pregnancy by human chorionic gonadotropin (D). O: oocyte. (c) Society for Endocrinology (2002). Reproduced by permission. Testis: A and F - [Adapted from 40]. Aromatase is expressed in the adult mouse testis (E) and caput epididymis (F). Staining is intense in elongate spermatids (ES) and spermatozoa in the seminiferous tubule lumen (Sp). Germ cells and Sertoli cells show weaker staining. Leydig cells (LC) are also positive in the interstitial space. In the epididymal lumen, aromatase is strongly positive in the cytoplasmic droplet of the sperm tail (arrows). The epididymal epithelium (Epid) may also show some weak staining in some cells. (c) The Royal Society (2010). Reproduced by permission. Bone: G - [Adapted from 132]. Aromatase expression in the periosteum on tibial sections of control mice at embryonic day 17.5 (Left). Aromatase expression is significantly decreased in mice expressing an inactive truncated form of Runx2 (right). (c) American Society for Microbiology (2010). Reproduced by permission. Prostate: H - [Adapted from 53]. In the prostate, aromatase immunostaining is found in the cytoplasm of luminal and stromal cells. Strong labelling can be observed at the apex of luminal cells. L, alveolar lumen; S, stromal cells. Copyright (still missing) Placenta: I - [Adapted from 133]. Immunohistochemical analysis of aromatase protein in human placental tissue sections revealed strong cytoplasmic staining in syncytiotrophoblasts, with adjacent cytotrophoblasts remaining negative. (c) Elsevier (2003). Reproduced by permission. Brain: J, K, L, M - [Adapted from 66]. Aromatase immunoreactivity in the normal human hippocampus; (J) dentate gyrus showing aromatase immunoreactivity in granule cells. (K) Aromataseimmunoreactive neurons in CA3. (L) Immunoreactivity for aromatase in the stratum pyramidale of CA1. (M) Detail of the boxed area in J showing aromatase-immunoreactive granule cells (arrows) where the immunostaining is restricted to the perikaryon and the initial part of the dendrites. (c) Elsevier (2010). Reproduced by permission. Breast Cancer: N, O, P, K - [Adapted from 123]. Immunolocalisation of aromatase in breast carcinoma tissues; aromatase immunoreactivity is detectable in the cytoplasm of stromal (S, top left), parenchymal carcinoma cells (T, top right), or both parenchymal and stromal cells (bottom left). Aromatase is also expressed in non-malignant duct epithelial cells (N, bottom right). (c) Elsevier (2007). Reproduced by permission.

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