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Parasitol Res. 1999 May;85(5):393-8.

Modified expression of steroid 5 alpha-reductase as well as aromatase, but not cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, in the reproductive system of male mice during (Taenia crassiceps) cysticercosis.

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Department of Cellular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens 30606, USA.


Infection with Taenia crassiceps cysticerci in male mice produces an increase in serum estradiol levels, whereas serum testosterone is abolished. Concomitantly, complete atrophy of the reproductive tract of infected male mice is observed. The present study was under-taken to determine the expression pattern of three key steroidogenic enzymes in the reproductive tissues of normal and infected male mice. In infected mice, serum estradiol levels were increased 97 times as compared with control mice of the same age. Testosterone and dihydrotestosterone levels were completely inhibited. The expression of 5 alpha-reductase in the reproductive tract was markedly reduced, whereas aromatase mRNA levels were highly elevated in the testes of parasitized mice. No change in the mRNA content for cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme was evident. The overall results suggest that the change in the normal production of sex steroids in infected male mice is produced concomitantly by the inhibition of expression of the 5 alpha-reductase enzyme and the activation of aromatase gene expression. This induces a preferential metabolism from testosterone toestradiol instead of the normal metabolism from testosterone to dihydrotestosterone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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