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      Developmental Pattern of 17β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase and 5α-Reductase Activities in the Foreskin of Boys from Birth to Eight Years of Age

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          The normal developmental pattern of 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (17HSD) activity in genital skin was examined using radiolabeled androstenedione as a substrate in a microassay based on high-pressure liquid chromatography separation of the metabolites. This assay allowed the simultaneous determination of 17HSD and 5α-reductase (5R) activities in both individual foreskin samples and pools of tissue obtained at circumcision from birth to 8 years of age. The results show that 17HSD activity is very low at birth and increases steadily during the so-called quiescent period. Reciprocal changes were observed for 5R. The increase in 17HSD activity appears to be independent of gonadal stimulation, but the mechanisms involved remain to be elucidated. From a clinical standpoint, our results provide an alternative explanation for the relative lack of virilization observed in newborns with testicular 17HSD deficiency.

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          Author and article information

          Horm Res Paediatr
          Hormone Research in Paediatrics
          S. Karger AG
          02 December 2008
          : 32
          : 4
          : 124-129
          Division of Biology of Growth and Reproduction, Department of Pediatrics and Genetics, and Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Canton University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
          181273 Horm Res 1989;32:124–129
          © 1989 S. Karger AG, Basel

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          Pages: 6
          Original Paper


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