Hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase confers oxo-reductase activity upon 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1

Iwona J. Bujalska, Nicole Draper, Zoi Michailidou, Jeremy W. Tomlinson, Perrin C. White, Karen E. Chapman, Elizabeth A. Walker, Paul M. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Two isozymes of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) interconvert active cortisol and inactive cortisone. 11β-HSD2 (renal) acts only as a dehydrogenase, converting cortisol to cortisone. 11β-HSD1 (liver) is a bi-directional enzyme in cell homogenates, whereas in intact cells it typically displays oxo-reductase activity, generating cortisol from cortisone. We recently established that cortisone reductase deficiency is a digenic disease requiring mutations in both the gene encoding 11β-HSD1 and in the gene for a novel enzyme located within the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH). This latter enzyme generates NADPH, the co-factor required for oxo-reductase activity. Therefore, we hypothesized that H6PDH expression may be an important determinant of 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity. Transient transfection of chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells with 11β-HSD1 resulted in the appearance of both oxo-reductase and dehydrogenase activities in intact cells. Co-transfection of 11β-HSD1 with H6PDH increased oxo-reductase activity whilst virtually eliminating dehydrogenase activity. In contrast, H6PDH had no effect on reaction direction of 11β-HSD2, nor did the cytosolic enzyme, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) affect 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity. Conversely in HEK 293 cells stably transfected with 11β-HSD1 cDNA, transfection of an H6PDH siRNA reduced 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity whilst simultaneously increasing 11β-HSD1 dehydrogenase activity. In human omental preadipocytes obtained from 15 females of variable body mass index (BMI), H6PDH mRNA levels positively correlated with 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity, independent of 11β-HSD1 mRNA levels. H6PDH expression increased 5.3-fold across adipocyte differentiation (P<0.05) and was associated with a switch from 11β-HSD1 dehydrogenase to oxo-reductase activity. In conclusion, H6PDH is a crucial determinant of 11β-HSD1 oxo-reductase activity in intact cells. Through its interaction with 11β-HSD1, H6PDH may represent a novel target in the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-684
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of molecular endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase confers oxo-reductase activity upon 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this