Transcript levels of genes implicated in steroidogenesis in the testes and fat tissue in relation to androstenone accumulation in fat of pubertal pigs

Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2016 Oct;57:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.domaniend.2016.03.008. Epub 2016 Apr 9.


The present study was performed to measure messenger RNA levels of steroidogenic enzymes in testes and fat tissue and determine whether they are related to fat androstenone level. Real-time polymerase chain reaction experiments were performed on 26 testes and 12 adipose tissue samples from pubertal boars using 21 genes. The absence of significant correlations between fat androstenone and the transcriptional activity of the SRD5A2 and SRD5A3 genes but the high correlation coefficient with that of the SRD5A1 gene (r = 0.62, P < 0.05) suggests that the enzyme coded by SRD5A1 is mainly responsible for the last step of androstenone synthesis. The testicular transcriptional activities of CYP17, CYP11A1, CYP19A, AKR1C-pig6, SRD5A1, LHCGR, and AR were significantly correlated. Only transcriptional levels of CYP17, CYP11A1, CYP19A, SRD5A1, and AKR1C-pig6 were correlated with the fat concentration of androstenone (0.57 < r < 0.70, P < 0.05) confirming that the amount of androstenone stored in fat is related to the production in testes of androstenone and more generally to all sex steroids. Altogether, our data are in favor of a preponderant role of AKR1C-pig6 instead of HSD17B3 for testicular synthesis of steroids. Concerning fat tissue, our data do not support a significant de novo biosynthesis of steroids in porcine adipose tissues. The presence of transcripts coding for steroid enzymes, especially those of AKR1C-pig6, suggests that steroids can be transformed. None of transcript abundance was related to androstenone accumulation (P > 0.1). Therefore, steroids synthesized elsewhere can be transformed in fat tissue but synthesis of androstenone is unlikely.

Keywords: Androgens; Androstenone; Boar; SRD5A1; Sex steroids.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Androgens / metabolism*
  • Androstenes / chemical synthesis*
  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Male
  • Sexual Maturation
  • Steroids / biosynthesis*
  • Swine / growth & development*
  • Testis / physiology*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Androgens
  • Androstenes
  • Steroids