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AKR1B7 (aldo-keto reductase family 1, member 7; also known as mouse vas deferens protein) is a member of the AKR superfamily, and has been suggested to play a role in detoxifying processes on account of its preferred substrates, 4-hydroxynonenal and isocaproaldehyde. High levels of protein expression were found in the vas deferens and the adrenal gland, where sustained expression is dependent on androgen or ACTH respectively. Recently, a remarkable induction of AKR1B7 expression has been reported in the ovary following exogenous injections of LH. In the present study, we confirm this regulation physiologically during the estrous cycle, observing Akr1b7 expression to be restricted to the theca and stromal cells of the proestrus ovary. To further investigate the role of this detoxifying enzyme in both male and female reproduction, we generated knockout mice deficient in AKR1B7. Although AKR1B7 expression in the vas deferens is considerable and tightly regulated in the ovary of wild-type animals, homozygous mutant animals were found to be viable and no reproductive phenotype was observed. Ovarian follicle maturation and spermatozoa parameters remained normal in the absence of this protein. The determination of serum progesterone revealed an increase in hormone concentration in metestrus, while progesterone was found to be decreased in the estrus phase of the cycle in knockout females.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





97 - 109


Adrenal Glands, Aldehyde Reductase, Animals, Breeding, Epididymis, Female, Fertility, Gene Expression, Gene Targeting, Homozygote, Immunoblotting, In Situ Hybridization, Male, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Organ Size, Ovary, Proestrus, Progesterone, RNA, Messenger, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sperm Motility, Spermatozoa, Stromal Cells, Testis, Theca Cells