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Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre and Estelle Louiset

Hirsutism induced by hyperandrogenism can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, 21-hydroxylase (OH) deficiency or androgen-secreting tumors, including ovarian and adrenal tumors. Adrenal androgen-secreting tumors are frequently malignant. Adrenal oncocytomas represent rare causes of hyperandrogenism. The aim of the study was to investigate steroidogenic enzyme expression and steroid secretion in an androgen-secreting adrenal oncocytoma in a young woman presenting with hirsutism. Hyperandrogenism was diagnosed on the basis of elevated plasma Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone levels. Pelvic ultrasound was normal, CT scanning revealed a right adrenal mass. Androgens were assessed in adrenal and ovarian vein samples and proved a right adrenal origin. Adrenalectomy normalized androgen levels and the adrenal tumor was diagnosed as an oncocytoma. Real time-PCR, immunohistochemistry and cell culture studies were performed on tumor explants to investigate the steroid secretion profile. Among enzymes required for cortisol synthesis, 17α-OH and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 2 (3β-HSD2) were highly expressed whereas 21-OH and 11β-OH were weakly produced at the mRNA and/or protein levels. Enzymes involved in testosterone production, 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3, were also detected. ACTH receptor was present in the tissue. Cortisol, Δ4-androstenedione and testosterone secretions by cultured cells were increased by ACTH. These results provide the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of abnormal expression profile of steroidogenic enzymes in an adrenocortical oncocytoma. Our results also indicate that Δ4-androstenedione hypersecretion resulted from high 17α-OH and 3β-HSD2 expression in combination with low expression of 21-OH and 11β-OH. Testosterone production was ascribed to occurrence of 17β-HSD5 and 17β-HSD3. Finally, our results indicate that androgen secretion was stimulated by ACTH.

Open access

Milène Tetsi Nomigni, Sophie Ouzounian, Alice Benoit, Jacqueline Vadrot, Frédérique Tissier, Sylvie Renouf, Hervé Lefebvre, Sophie Christin-Maitre and Estelle Louiset

Open access

Gaëtan Prévost, Marie Picot, Marie-Anne Le Solliec, Arnaud Arabo, Hind Berrahmoune, Mouna El Mehdi, Saloua Cherifi, Alexandre Benani, Emmanuelle Nédélec, Françoise Gobet, Valéry Brunel, Jérôme Leprince, Hervé Lefebvre, Youssef Anouar and Nicolas Chartrel


Recent studies performed in mice revealed that the neuropeptide 26RFa regulates glucose homeostasis by acting as an incretin and by increasing insulin sensitivity. However, in humans, an association between 26RFa and the regulation of glucose homeostasis is poorly documented. In this study, we have thus investigated in detail the distribution of 26RFa and its receptor, GPR103, in the gut and the pancreas, and determined the response of this peptidergic system to an oral glucose challenge in obese patients.

Design and methods

Distribution of 26RFa and GPR103 was examined by immunohistochemistry using gut and pancreas tissue sections. Circulating 26RFa was determined using a specific radioimmunoassay in plasma samples collected during an oral glucose tolerance test.


26RFa and GPR103 are present all along the gut but are more abundant in the stomach and duodenum. In the stomach, the peptide and its receptor are highly expressed in the gastric glands, whereas in the duodenum, ileum and colon they are present in the enterocytes and the goblet cells. In the pancreatic islets, the 26RFa/GPR103 system is mostly present in the β cells. During an oral glucose tolerance test, plasma 26RFa profile is different between obese patients and healthy volunteers, and we found strong positive correlations between 26RFa blood levels and the BMI, and with various parameters of insulin secretion and insulin resistance.


The present data suggest an involvement of the 26RFa/GPR103 peptidergic system in the control of human glucose homeostasis.