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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Dec;11(10):421-7.

Role of 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases in sex steroid formation in peripheral intracrine tissues.

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Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology Research Center, Laval University Hospital (CHUL) and Laval University, 2705, Laurier Boulevard, Qu├ębec, Canada G1V 4G2.


In postmenopausal women, almost 100% of active sex steroids are synthesized in peripheral target tissues from inactive steroid precursors and, in adult men, approximately 50% of androgens are made locally in target tissues. This new field of endocrinology has been called intracrinology. The last and key step in the formation of all estrogens and androgens is catalyzed by a series of substrate-specific, cell-specific and unidirectional 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (17 beta-HSDs). To date, seven human 17 beta-HSDs have been cloned, sequenced and characterized. The 17 beta-HSDs provide each cell with the means of precisely controlling the intracellular concentration of each sex steroid according to local needs.

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