Background: Hepatic 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) plays an important role in steroid inactivation and catabolism. Serum concentrations of steroid hormones differ significantly between breeds in pigs, however the molecular mechanism regulating hepatic 3β-HSD expression in different breeds of pigs is poorly understood. In the present study, we used preweaning purebred male Large White (LW) and Erhualian (EHL) piglets as model to investigate the breed difference in the expression and regulation of 3β-HSD gene in porcine liver. Results: The hepatic expression of 3β-HSD mRNA was significantly lower (P < 0.01) in EHL piglets compared to that in LW piglets. Significant breed differences were detected for the hepatic expression of transcription factors such as androgen receptor (AR), glucocorticoid receptor (GR), and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein β (C/EBPβ). The nucleoprotein contents of AR (P < 0.05), GR (P < 0.01) and phospho-Ser211GR (P < 0.01) were significantly higher in the liver of EHL piglets. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay demonstrated significantly lower binding of GR, but not AR or C/EBPβ, to 3β-HSD gene promoter in EHL piglets (P < 0.05). GR was not detected to interact with C/EBPβ or AR in the co-immunoprecipitation analysis. Conclusions: These results indicate that GR binding to 3β-HSD promoter is involved in the breed-dependent 3β-HSD expression in the liver of piglets.
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