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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Expression of hepatic 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and sulfotransferase 2A1 in entire and castrated male pigs

Rasmussen, Martin; Brunius, Carl; Ekstrand, Bo; Zamaratskaia, Galia


The present study investigated the effect of surgical (SC) and immunological castration on the steroid metabolizing enzymes 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta-HSD) and sulfotransferase 2A1 (SULT2A1) in male pigs. Thirty-two male pigs were divided in four groups; in one group the pigs were SC before the age of 7 days, two groups were injected with Improvac(A (R)) a vaccine against gonadotropin releasing hormone (immunological castration), while the pigs in the last group remained entire males (EMs). Immunological castration was in one group performed by vaccine injection at ages 11 and 14 weeks, while the other group received injections at ages 17 and 21 weeks. Plasma, adipose and liver tissue were collected at the time of slaughter. Plasma was analyzed for concentrations of testosterone and oestradiol. The adipose tissue was analyzed for the concentration of androstenone, while the liver tissue was analyzed for mRNA and protein expression of 3 beta-HSD and SULT2A1. Independent of method, all castrated pigs showed greater mRNA and protein expression of 3 beta-HSD and lower levels of all steroids in plasma compared with EMs. Moreover, there was a strong correlation between mRNA and protein expression of 3 beta-HSD and steroid levels. The same was not valid for expression of SULT2A1. It is concluded that steroid levels can increase expression of the steroid metabolizing enzyme 3 beta-HSD and thereby influence steroid metabolism, e.g. of androstenone.


Castration; Gene regulation; Protein expression; Boar taint; Androstenone

Published in

Molecular Biology Reports
2012, Volume: 39, number: 8, pages: 7927-7932
Publisher: SPRINGER