Vitamin D hydroxylases and their regulation in a naturally vitamin D-deficient subterranean mammal, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber)

R. Buffenstein, I. N. Sergeev, J. M. Pettifor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The vitamin D hormone 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) is generated by a series of hydroxylation steps in the liver and kidneys. We investigated whether naturally vitamin D-deficient subterranean mammals (naked mole rats, heterocephalus glaber) employ the same enzymatic pathways, and whether these are regulated in a similar manner to that established for other mammals. Vitamin D3-25-hydroxylase in the liver and both 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-1-hydroxylase and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3-24 hydroxylase (1-OHase and 24-OHase) in the kidney were detectable in mole rats. As expected for vitamin D-deficient mammals, the 1-OHase activity predominated over the 24-OHase. After mole rats received a supraphysiological supplement of vitamin D3, 1-OHase activity was suppressed and 24-OHase activity was enhanced. Irrespective of vitamin D status, forskolin (a protein kinase A activator) and dibutyryl cyclic AMP did not alter the activity of either 1-OHase or 24-OHase. These findings suggest that the response of renal hydroxylases to parathyroid hormone was blunted. Phorbol esters, 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (TPA) and 1-oleoyl-2-acetylglycerol (OAG) (protein kinase C activators), suppressed 1-OHase activity. 24-OHase activity was induced by TPA but not by OAG. These effects were similar to those illicited by vitamin D3 supplementation but were additive in that they increased the responses shown in vitamin D-replete mole rats. These data confirm that naturally vitamin D-deficient mole rats can convert vitamin D3 to the hormone, 1,25(OH)2D3. Furthermore, the enzymes 1-OHase and 24-OHase present in the kidneys of these mammals are regulated independently by 1,25(OH)2D3 and protein kinase C-mediated pathways of intracellular signalling, but are not regulated by the cyclic AMP-protein kinase A signal transduction pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


Dive into the research topics of 'Vitamin D hydroxylases and their regulation in a naturally vitamin D-deficient subterranean mammal, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this