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J Steroid Biochem. 1989 Nov;33(5):935-40.

Precursors of plasma androstanediol- and androgen-glucuronides in women.

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Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium.


Although androstanediol (AD) and androstanediolglucuronide (ADG) are generally considered to be parameters of peripheral androgen action, their plasma levels do not always vary in parallel, suggesting that they may have different precursors. Few hard data being available concerning ADG precursors in women, we studied in postmenopausal women with absent or suppressed adrenal function, the blood conversion rates of testosterone (T), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androstenedione (A) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and its sulfate (DHEAS) to AD and ADG respectively, as well as the conversion of AD to ADG. Moreover conversions of these precursors to testosteroneglucuronide (TG) and dihydrotestosteroneglucuronide (DHTG), respectively, were also studied. Our data show that, whereas plasma A and DHT are the major precursors of AD, plasma DHEAS and A are the major precursors of plasma ADG, accounting for 50 and 15%, respectively, of plasma ADG, A being the major precursor of plasma TG and DHTG, respectively. When the conversion rates, obtained in this study, were applied to the plasma concentration of precursors found in normal young and postmenopausal women, respectively, the calculated concentration of product steroids accounted for almost the totality of the actual plasma levels of ADG, TG and DHTG respectively. The difference in relative importance of their precursors, explains that plasma concentrations of AD and ADG do not always vary in parallel; moreover, the importance of DHEAS as precursor of ADG explains the suppression by dexamethasone and the increase after adrenocortical stimulation of plasma ADG levels.

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