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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1984 Nov;21(5):575-82.

Ovarian steroidogenesis in an adrenalectomized girl with 21-hydroxylase deficiency.


A girl with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency could not be controlled by conventional treatment, and was adrenalectomized at age 8.5 years (bone age 13.5 years). After surgery, puberty and menarche occurred. On replacement therapy, her progress was uneventful up to the age of 16 years, when menstruations ceased and signs of virilization reappeared. Testosterone, androstenedione, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone in plasma, and pregnanetriol in urine were high, but DHEA in plasma, and pregnenetriol and pregnanetriolone in urine were low. Oestrogens in plasma were normal. There was no steroid response to ACTH, and marked, but somewhat slow suppression by dexamethasone. HMG induced a strong rise in oestrone and oestradiol. Ethinyloestradiol reduced not only oestradiol in plasma, but also testosterone, androstenedione, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone. With subsequent dexamethasone treatment, menstruation restarted, and the values returned to normal. It is concluded that virilization may reoccur in patients with 21-hydroxylase deficiency even after adrenalectomy, and that the ovaries in this patient contain some tissue, which has properties of adrenal (suppressibility by dexamethasone) and ovarian tissue (suppressibility by ethinyl oestradiol, preference for delta 4-pathway, low steroid 11-oxygenation) at the same time.

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