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J Steroid Biochem. 1989 May;32(5):695-8.

Comparison of residual C-19 steroids in plasma and prostatic tissue of human, rat and guinea pig after castration: unique importance of extratesticular androgens in men.

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MRC Group in Molecular Endocrinology, Laval University Medical Center, Quebec, Canada.


The concentrations of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), its sulfate (DHEAS), androstenedione (A-dione), testosterone (T) and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) have been measured before and after castration in men and two animal models, namely the rat and the guinea pig. In adult men, the pre-castration levels of plasma DHEAS and DHEA were measured at 1839 +/- 320 and 2.4 +/- 0.5 ng/ml, respectively, while in both animal models, the concentrations of these two steroids were below 0.3 ng/ml. Orchiectomy in men reduced plasma T and DHT levels from 2.9 +/- 0.1 and 0.60 +/- 0.10 to 0.42 +/- 0.21 and 0.05 +/- 0.01 ng/ml (P less than 0.01), respectively, while there was no significant effect observed on DHEAS, DHEA and A-dione levels. By contrast, castration in the rat reduced the low levels of circulating DHEA and A-dione below the detection of the radioimmunoassay (RIA) used. In castrated guinea pig, a small quantity of plasma A-dione (0.07 +/- 0.02 ng/ml) was measured while DHEA was undetectable. Moreover, in the rat and guinea pig, plasma T and DHT levels became undetectable. Following administration of the antiandrogen Flutamide for two weeks in the castrated rat and guinea pig, prostate weight was not further reduced, thus indicating that there is no significant androgenic activity left following castration of these two species. In fact, castration in the rat and guinea pig caused a decrease in prostatic levels of DHT from 4.24 +/- 0.351 and 9.42 +/- 1.43 ng/g, respectively, to undetectable levels. In men, on the other hand, the prostatic DHT levels were only inhibited from 5.24 +/- 0.59 to 2.70 +/- 1.50 ng/g, respectively. As expected, when Flutamide was administered to the rat and the guinea pig, the levels of prostatic steroids remained undetectable while, in men, the DHT content in the prostate was further reduced to undetectable values. In summary, the plasma levels of DHEAS, DHEA, delta 4-dione are markedly different between men and both animal models used and furthermore, measurements of prostatic levels of androgens suggest that the high plasma levels of these steroids are likely responsible for the presence of important amounts of DHT in human prostate after castration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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