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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1991 Feb;38(2):227-32.

DHT formation and degradation in cultured human skin fibroblasts: DHT accumulation in the genital skin.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.


The conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by 5 alpha-reductase and the interconversion between DHT and 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diol (3 alpha-diol) by 3 alpha-hydroxy-steroid oxidoreductase (3 alpha-HSOR) were studied in fibroblasts derived from the genital skin of 22 males and 6 females, and from the nongenital skin of 19 males and 9 females with normal gonadal function. The formation of DHT from testosterone (5 alpha-reduction) was significantly greater in fibroblasts from genital skin than in those from nongenital skin in both males (2.15 +/- 1.43 vs 0.81 +/- 0.46 pmol/mg protein/h, mean +/- SD, P less than 0.001) and females (2.52 +/- 1.99 vs 0.69 +/- 0.18, P less than 0.01). Furthermore, DHT formation from 3 alpha-diol (3 alpha-HSOR oxidation) was also significantly greater in genital skin fibroblasts than in nongenital skin fibroblasts of males (5.47 +/- 3.37 vs 2.52 +/- 1.74 pmol/mg protein/h, P less than 0.01). However, the degradation of DHT to 3 alpha- and/or 3 beta-diol (3 alpha- and/or 3 beta-HSOR reductions) was not different between genital and nongenital skin fibroblasts of either males or females. Respective ratios of DHT formation to DHT degradation (5 alpha-reduction/3 alpha-HSOR reduction, 3 alpha-HSOR oxidation/3 alpha-HSOR reduction) were also significantly greater (P less than 0.002) in genital skin fibroblasts than in nongenital skin fibroblasts of males. On the other hand, both DHT formation and degradation were not different between male and female genital skin fibroblasts. These results suggest that the increased production of DHT in genital compared to nongenital skin results from increased 5 alpha-reduction and 3 alpha-HSOR oxidation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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