Steroidogenic Factor 1 Messenger Ribonucleic Acid Expression in Steroidogenic and Nonsteroidogenic Human Tissues: Northern Blot and in Situ Hybridization Studies

Meera S. Ramayya, Jian Zhou, Tomoshige Kino, James Segars, Carolyn A. Bondy, George P. Chrousos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1), a tissue-specific orphan nuclear receptor, regulates the genes of several steroidogenic enzymes, Mullerian inhibiting substance, and the gonadotrophins. Also, this transcription factor is crucial for hypothalamic, adrenal, and gonadal organogenesis in the mouse. We recently cloned the human SF-1 (hSF-1) complementary DNA (cDNA) and now report the distribution of this factor's messenger RNA (mRNA) in human tissues. Northern blot analyses of peripheral tissues revealed high hSF-1 mRNA expression in the adrenal cortex and the gonads, but no hSF-1 mRNA was detected in the placenta. High hSF-1 mRNA expression also was seen in the spleen. In this tissue, in addition to the main transcript of 3.5-4 kb seen in the adrenal and gonads, two additional transcripts of 4.4 kb and 8 kb were noted. The additional 4.4-kb transcript also was seen in several peripheral tissues and various components of the brain. However, adult liver and heart showed only the 4.4-kb transcript. In the human brain, hSF-1 mRNA expression was widespread, including several components of the limbic system. In situ hybridization studies confirmed the strong expression of hSF-1 mRNA in adrenal cortex, ovary, testis, and the spleen, primarily within reticuloendothelial cells. Thus, in the human, the hSF1 mRNA is present in both steroidogenic and nonsteroidogenic tissues, albeit not in the placenta. In the central nervous system, the expression of hSF-1 mRNA is widespread. It is composed of several different mRNA species distributed in a tissue-specific fashion. These findings suggest that hSF-1 may play a role in reticuloendothelial/immune cell maturation and/or function, as well as nervous system development and/or neurosteroid biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1799-1806
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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