Biosynthesis and biological actions of pineal neurosteroids in domestic birds

Kazuyoshi Tsutsui, Shogo Haraguchi, Megumi Hatori, Tsuyoshi Hirota, Yoshitaka Fukada

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    The central and peripheral nervous systems have the capacity of synthesizing steroids de novo from cholesterol, the so-called 'neurosteroids'. De novo synthesis of neurosteroids from cholesterol appears to be a conserved property across the subphylum vertebrata. Until recently, it was generally believed that neurosteroids are produced in neurons and glial cells in the central and peripheral nervous systems. However, our recent studies on birds have demonstrated that the pineal gland, an endocrine organ located close to the brain, is an important site of production of neurosteroids de novo from cholesterol. 7α-Hydroxypregnenolone is a major pineal neurosteroid that stimulates locomotor activity of juvenile birds, connecting light-induced gene expression with locomotion. The other major pineal neurosteroid allopregnanolone is involved in Purkinje cell survival by suppressing the activity of caspase-3, a crucial mediator of apoptosis during cerebellar development. This review is an updated summary of the biosynthesis and biological actions of pineal neurosteroids.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-105
    Number of pages9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013 Oct


    • 7α-Hydroxypregnenolone
    • Allopregnanolone
    • Brain
    • Locomotor activity
    • Neuroprotection
    • Neurosteroids
    • Pineal gland
    • Purkinje cell

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Endocrinology
    • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


    Dive into the research topics of 'Biosynthesis and biological actions of pineal neurosteroids in domestic birds'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this