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Medicine (Baltimore). 1996 Mar;75(2):64-76.

Male pseudohermaphroditism due to steroid 5alpha-reductase 2 deficiency. Diagnosis, psychological evaluation, and management.

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Gonads and Intersex Unit, Division of Endocrinology, Hospital das Clinicas of the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Brazil.


Sixteen subjects (from 10 Brazilian families) with male pseudohermaphroditism due to steroid 5alpha-reductase 2 deficiency have been evaluated in 1 clinic. The diagnoses were made on the basis of normal plasma testosterone values, normal or low plasma dihydrotestosterone levels and high testosterone/dihydrotestosterone ratios in the basal state in postpubertal subjects or after treatment with either human chorionic gonadotropin or testosterone in prepubertal subjects. The analysis of the ratios of etiocholanolone to androsterone in urine confirmed the diagnosis in all subjects who were tested, and the molecular basis of the underlying mutations was established in 9 of the families. Fourteen of the individuals were evaluated by the same psychologist. All subjects but 1 were given a female sex assignment at birth. Three of the subjects (1 the sibling of an individual who has undergone female to male social behavior) maintain a female social sex; they have been gonadectomized and treated with exogenous estrogens. Ten of 13 subjects of postpubertal age underwent a change of social sex from female to male, had surgical correction of the hypospadias, and were treated with high-dose testosterone esters by parenteral injection and subsequently with dihydrotestosterone cream. These regimens brought serum dihydrotestosterone levels to the normal male range (or above) but resulted only in limited growth of the prostate and penis and, in some, increase in body and facial hair and enhancement of libido and sexual performance. Treatment of the prepubertal boys with testosterone and/or dihydrotestosterone resulted in a doubling of penis size.

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