Kobayashi award: Discovery of cerebellar and pineal neurosteroids and their biological actions on the growth and survival of Purkinje cells during development (review)

Kazuyoshi Tsutsui

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The brain has traditionally been considered to be a target site of peripheral steroid hormones. On the other hand, extensive studies over the past thirty years have demonstrated that the brain is a site of biosynthesis of several steroids. Such steroids synthesized de novo from cholesterol in the brain are called neurosteroids. To investigate the biosynthesis and biological actions of neurosteroids in the brain, data on the regio- and temporal-specific synthesis of neurosteroids are needed. In the mid 1990s, the Purkinje cell, an important cerebellar neuron, was discovered as a major cell producing neurosteroids in the brain of vertebrates. It was the first demonstration of de novo neuronal biosynthesis of neurosteroids in the brain. Subsequently, neuronal biosynthesis of neurosteroids and biological actions of neurosteroids have become clear by the follow-up studies using the Purkinje cell as an excellent cellular model. Progesterone and estradiol, which are known as sex steroid hormones, are actively synthesized de novo from cholesterol in the Purkinje cell during development, when cerebellar neuronal circuit formation occurs. Importantly, progesterone and estradiol synthesized in the Purkinje cell promote dendritic growth, spinogenesis and synaptogenesis via their cognate nuclear receptors in the Purkinje cell. Neurotrophic factors may mediate these neurosteroid actions. Futhermore, allopregnanolone (3α,5α-tetrahydroprogesterone), a progesterone metabolite, is also synthesized in the cerebellum and acts on the survival of Purkinje cells. On the other hand, at the beginning of 2010s, the pineal gland, an endocrine organ located close to the cerebellum, was discovered as an important site of the biosynthesis of neurosteroids. Allopregnanolone, a major pineal neurosteroid, acts on the Purkinje cell for the survival of Purkinje cells by suppressing the expression of caspase-3, a crucial mediator of apoptosis. I as a recipient of Kobayashi Award from the Japan Society for Comparative Endocrinology in 2016 summarize the discovery of cerebellar and pineal neurosteroids and their biological actions on the growth and survival of Purkinje cells during development.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
    DOIs
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1

    Keywords

    • Allopregnanolone
    • Cerebellum
    • Estradiol
    • Neuronal growth
    • Neuronal survival
    • Neurosteroids
    • Pineal gland
    • Progesterone
    • Purkinje cell
    • Synaptogenesis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Endocrinology

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