Sex steroid receptor proteins in foetal, adult, and malignant human liver tissue


Summary Sex steroid receptor proteins were studied in human normal liver and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Oestrogen receptor (ER) was detected in nucleosol and cytosol of 4 normal adult and 5 malignant liver specimens and in the cytosol of 6 foetal liver samples. Levels were 27.6-500 fmolmg 1 soluble protein in normal adults (Kd 1.48 x l0-8-l.l2 x 1010moll-1), 45-290fmolmg-1 in malignant liver tissue (Kd 3.26x 10-9-3.64x 10-'moll-1) and a mean of 93fmolmg-1 in foetal tissue (Kd 1.55x lO-9moll-P). Androgen receptors (AR) were found only in cytosol and nucleosol of HCC (23-370fmolmg-1) and in cytosol from foetal liver (29fmolmg-1) with Kd from 2.90x l0-9 to 3.734x 1010moll-1. AR was distinguished from sex hormone binding globulin, which was also present in all cytosol samples, by the former's ability to selectively bind to methyltrienolone and the latter's absence from nucleosol. These findings provide further support for suggestions that oestrogen-related hepatic functions in man may be mediated by receptors and raise the possibility that hepatocellular carcinoma may be androgen dependent. Mammalian liver is the major site of conversion and catabolism of steroids and many of its functions are known to be influenced by oestrogens and androgens. In addition, hepatic adenom

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