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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1985 Feb;60(2):349-55.

5 alpha-Reductase activity in the genital skin of hirsute women.

Abstract

A simplified, rapid, and highly reproducible technique is described for measuring 5 alpha-reductase activity (5 alpha RA) in small skin biopsies. Human genital skin was obtained from 23 nonhirsute and 20 hirsute premenopausal women (HW) and 5 normal men. Skin samples were minced at 4 C and incubated with RPMI-1640 in the presence of 95% O2-5% CO2 and 4.15 nmol [14C]testosterone ([14C]T) for 2 h at 37 C. Steroids were extracted with diethyl ether and separated by Celite and paper chromatography. Radioactivity in specific eluates was quantified, and the mass of each steroid was measured by RIA. The separate formation of 5 alpha-androstane-17 beta-ol-3-one (DHT), 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha, 17B diol (3 alpha diol), androstenedione, and androsterone from [14C]T was measured. In separate experiments it was demonstrated that an incubation time of 2 h was optimum and that the addition of cofactors was unnecessary. Radiochemical purity was confirmed after chromatography. The mean +/- SE conversion ratio (CR) of T to DHT (in 2 h) in HW was higher than that in normal women (16.80 +/- 1.62% vs. 4.48 +/- 0.36%; P less than 0.01). In men, the CR of T to DHT averaged 31.60 +/- 3.96%. Individual values for the CR of T to DHT in HW and normal women did not overlap. The CR of T to 3 alpha diol was significantly higher in HW (9.66 +/- 0.86%) and men (15.98 +/- 2.0%) compared to that in normal women (2.96 +/- 0.32%; P less than 0.05). The CR of T to androstenedione was significantly greater in HW and men (6.18 +/- 0.42 and 7.28 +/- 1.92%) compared to that in normal women (2.64 +/- 0.64%; P less than 0.05). The CR of T to androsterone was very low and was similar in the three groups. The production of DHT in HW (4.50 +/- 1.0 pmol/mg X 2 h) was significantly greater than that in normal women (0.48 +/- 0.08; P less than 0.01) and was similar to the production in men (6.18 +/- 1.94 pmol/mg X 2 h). There was a significant correlation between the CR of T to DHT and DHT production, and the CR of T to 3 alpha diol and 3 alpha diol production as well as between the CRs of T to DHT and T to 3 alpha diol. These data suggest that measurements of DHT formation are best suited for the assessment of 5 alpha RA and that the measurement of 5 alpha RA in vitro from small skin biopsies is suitable for the clinical evaluation of hirsutism.

PMID:
3965494
DOI:
10.1210/jcem-60-2-349
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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