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National Center for Biotechnology Information (US). Genes and Disease [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 1998-.

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Genes and Disease [Internet].

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Male pattern baldness

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5-alpha reductase is an enzyme that was first discovered in the male prostate. Here it catalyzes the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which in turn binds to the androgen receptor and initiates development of the external genitalia and prostate. The gene for 5-alpha reductase has been mapped to chromosome 5.

More recently, 5-alpha reductase was found in human scalp and elsewhere in the skin, where it carries out the same reaction as in the prostate. It is thought that disturbances in 5-alpha reductase activity in skin cells might contribute to male pattern baldness, acne, or hirsutism. The discovery of a plant homolog of human 5-alpha reductase may lead to new drugs, and the race is now on to find inhibitors of 5-alpha reductase.

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Gene sequence

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