11β-HSD1 is the major regulator of the tissue-specific effects of circulating glucocorticoid excess.
Morgan SA., McCabe EL., Gathercole LL., Hassan-Smith ZK., Larner DP., Bujalska IJ., Stewart PM., Tomlinson JW., Lavery GG.
The adverse metabolic effects of prescribed and endogenous glucocorticoid (GC) excess, Cushing syndrome, create a significant health burden. We found that tissue regeneration of GCs by 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), rather than circulating delivery, is critical to developing the phenotype of GC excess; 11β-HSD1 KO mice with circulating GC excess are protected from the glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hepatic steatosis, adiposity, hypertension, myopathy, and dermal atrophy of Cushing syndrome. Whereas liver-specific 11β-HSD1 KO mice developed a full Cushingoid phenotype, adipose-specific 11β-HSD1 KO mice were protected from hepatic steatosis and circulating fatty acid excess. These data challenge our current view of GC action, demonstrating 11β-HSD1, particularly in adipose tissue, is key to the development of the adverse metabolic profile associated with circulating GC excess, offering 11β-HSD1 inhibition as a previously unidentified approach to treat Cushing syndrome.