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Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation

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Aromatase in normal and diseased liver

Keigo Murakami
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Pathology, Tohoku University Hospital, 1-1 Seiryou-machi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8574, Japan, Phone: +81-22-7177440, Fax: +81-22-7177449
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Shuko Hata / Yasuhiro Miki
  • Department of Disaster Obstetrics and Gynecology, International Research Institute of Disaster Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Hironobu Sasano
Published Online: 2018-02-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2017-0081



A potential correlation between sex hormones, such as androgens and estrogens, and the development and progression of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) has been proposed. However, its details, in particular, aromatase status in diseased human liver has remained largely unknown.

Materials and methods

We immunolocalized aromatase, 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17β-HSD) type 1 and 17β-HSD type 2 in a total of 155 cases, consisting of normal liver (n = 10), nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) (n = 18), primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) (n = 6), primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) (n = 13), biliary atresia (n = 18), alcoholic hepatitis (n = 11), hepatitis C virus (HCV) (n = 31), HCV sustained virologic response (HCV-SVR) (n = 10), hepatitis B virus (HBV) (n = 20), HBV sustained virologic response (HBV-SVR) (n = 8) and infants (n = 10).


Immunoreactivity scores of aromatase in HBV (59.5 ± 30.9), HBV-SVR (68.1 ± 33.5) and infants (100.5 ± 36.6) were significantly higher than those in normal liver (26.0 ± 17.1). Scores of 17β-HSD type 1 in any etiology other than HBV (116.3 ± 23.7) and infants (120.0 ± 28.5) were significantly lower than those in normal liver (122.5 ± 8.6). Scores of 17β-HSD type 2 in NASH (74.4 ± 36.6) were significantly lower than those in normal liver (128.0 ± 29.7).


High immunoreactivity scores of aromatase and 17β-HSD type 1 in the patients with HBV suggest a correlation between HBV infection and in situ estrogen synthesis in hepatocytes.

Keywords: aromatase; 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase; diseased liver; normal liver


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About the article

Received: 2017-12-12

Accepted: 2018-01-12

Published Online: 2018-02-28

Author Statement

Research funding: Authors state no funding involved.

Conflict of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.

Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable.

Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animals use.

Citation Information: Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, 20170081, ISSN (Online) 1868-1891, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hmbci-2017-0081.

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