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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1992 Oct;43(4):281-7.

In vitro potency and selectivity of the non-steroidal androgen aromatase inhibitor CGS 16949A compared to steroidal inhibitors in the brain.

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MRC Neuroendocrine Development and Behaviour Group, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics Research, Babraham, Cambridge, England.


A sensitive in vitro 3H2O microassay for aromatase activity was used to evaluate the potency and selectivity of three aromatase inhibitors in mammalian (gerbil) and avian (ring dove) hypothalamus. The steroidal inhibitors, 1,4,6-androstatrien-3,17-dione (ATD) and 4-hydroxy-androstenedione (4-OH-A) were compared with a new non-steroidal imidazole inhibitor, CGS 16949A [4-(5,6,7,8-tetrahydroimidazo-[1,5-a]-pyridin-5-yl)benzonitrile HCl]. Adult male dove hypothalamic aromatase is highly active [Vmax = 5.3 pmol testosterone (T) converted/h/mg protein], has high substrate binding affinity (Km = 4.0 nM), and direct involvement in control of sexual behaviour. With [1 beta-3H]T or [1 beta-3H]A as substrate, male dove preoptic aromatase activity was inhibited more effectively and selectively by CGS 16949A. Thus, Kis and IC50s for aromatization were approximately 50 times lower for the non-steroidal inhibitor, and inhibition of the other major androgen-metabolizing enzymes (5 alpha/beta-reductase) occurred at concentrations at least one order of magnitude greater than for ATD and 4-OH-A. Neonatal male gerbil hypothalamic aromatase activity (Vmax = 1.3 pmol T converted/h/mg protein) was lower than in the dove. Aromatase inhibition by CGS 16949A is more potent in the neonatal gerbil than in the dove (Kis of 0.03 and 0.60 nM, respectively, with A as substrate). We conclude that the imidazole is an effective aromatase inhibitor in both the adult and developing brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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