Characterization of steroid production in cultured human choriocarcinoma cells

Rebecca S. Bahn, Anne Worsham, K. V. Speeg, Mario Ascoli, David Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Progesterone is the major steroid synthesized by the JEG-3, BeWo, and JAR cell lines of choriocarcinoma. A lesser amount of pregnenolone is produced. The 17a-hydroxy derivatives of these steroids are only minimally present in the three lines. The addition of fetal calf serum to the culture medium modestly increases the synthesis of these steroids, but increases the quantity of 17²-estradiol produced by 30- to 90-fold. The addition of dehydroepiandrosterone, dehydroepian-drosterone sulfate, androstenedione, androstenediol, and testosterone was shown to stimulate 17β-estradiol synthesis. There isa clear dose-response relationship between the amount of testosterone added and the quantity of 17β-estradiol produced. These results indicate that 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-isomerase, 17β-ol dehydrogenase, and aromatase are active in cultured choriocarcinoma cells, whereas 17β6-hydroxylase and 17-20-desmolase do not appear to be functional in these cells. It i s concluded that the stereoidogenic capabilities of choriocarci-noma cells in culture are similar to those of the in vivo placenta and support their use as an experimental model of placental steroidogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-450
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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