ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2017) 50 APW1.2 | DOI: 10.1530/endoabs.50.APW1.2

Reprogramming cells to acquire steroidogenic potential: towards therapy for adrenal insufficiency

Leonardo Guasti

Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

Adrenal insufficiency is managed by hormone replacement therapy, which is far from optimal; the ability to generate functional steroidogenic cells would offer a unique opportunity for a curative approach restoring the complex feedback regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. Here we generated human induced steroidogenic cells (hiSCs) from fibroblasts, blood- and urine-derived cells through forced expression of Steroidogenic Factor-1 and activation of PKA and LHRH pathways. hiSCs had ultrastructural features resembling steroid-secreting cells, expressed steroidogenic enzymes and secreted steroid hormones in response to stimuli. hiSCs successfully engrafted into the mouse kidney capsule and underwent intra-adrenal differentiation. Importantly, the hypocortisolism of hiSCs derived from patients with adrenal insufficiency due to congenital adrenal hyperplasia was rescued by expressing the wild-type version of the defective disease-causing enzymes. Our study provides an effective tool with many potential applications to study adrenal pathobiology in a personalized manner and opens venues for the development of precision therapies.

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