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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Plasma levels of C19 steroid glucuronides in pre-menopausal women with non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Recent reports have thrown doubt on the role of measurements of plasma 5 alpha-androstane-3 alpha,17 beta-diol glucuronide (3 alpha-diolG) as a marker of peripheral androgen metabolism in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome and idiopathic hirsutism. It has been suggested that a plasma profile of C19 steroid glucuronides may be more informative. While preliminary data indicates that both 3 alpha-diolG and androsterone G (ADTG) may arise from adrenal steroid precursors, there have been no reports of C19 steroid glucuronides in women with non-classical, or late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia (NC-CAH), who constitute a significant proportion of the hirsute female population. We therefore measured plasma levels of 3 alpha-diolG, ADTG and dihydrotestosterone G (DHTG) before and following a standard Cortrosyn test in 15 symptomatic and 3 asymptomatic NC-CAH patients, 5 heterozygote carriers for 21-hydroxylase deficiency (NCHETS) and 18 normal women. The effects of chronic glucocorticoid ( GCR) therapy (greater than 3 months) on the C19 steroid glucuronide profile in the symptomatic patients was also investigated. Baseline plasma levels of all 3 glucuronides were significantly (P less than 0.001) higher in symptomatic patients compared with either normals or NCHETS. However, the order of discrimination was ADTG greater than 3 alpha-diolG greater than DHTG. There were no significant differences between steroid glucuronide levels for NCHET and normal women and the C19 steroid glucuronide concentrations for the asymptomatic NC-CAH patients were greater than 2 SD above the normal means. Moderate clinical improvement was observed in all patients receiving oral GCR therapy and was accompanied by approx. 80% suppression of the plasma levels of all 3 C19 steroid glucuronides. This contrasts with a mean suppression of androstenedione of only 50%. However, plasma levels of the C19 steroid glucuronides were not significantly increased in response to a short ACTH stimulation test. This may be explained by the fact that the androgen glucuronides are thought to be peripherally formed metabolites derived from unconjugated glandular secreted androgen precursors and thus their synthesis at 60 min following adrenal stimulation may lag substantially behind that of their respective precursors. There were significant linear correlations between the levels of all 3 glucuronides, but neither correlated with Ferriman-Gallway scores, body mass index or 17-hydroxyprogesterone levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Plasma levels of C19 steroid glucuronides in pre-menopausal women with non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Whorwood, C.B., Ueshiba, H., del Blazo, P. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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