Steroid glucuronides: human circulatory levels and formation by LNCaP cells

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1991;40(4-6):593-8. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(91)90281-9.


We studied the relationship between circulating androsterone glucuronide, androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diol glucuronide and androstane-3 beta, 17 beta-diol glucuronide concentrations and adrenal as well as testicular C-19 steroids in men. Among the three 5 alpha-reduced steroid glucuronides, androsterone glucuronide is the predominant C-19 steroid glucuronide measured in plasma and its levels are markedly elevated compared to those of the non-conjugated steroid. The marked rise in testosterone during puberty was strongly correlated with the increase in both androsterone glucuronide and androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diol glucuronide, thus suggesting that testicular C-19 steroids are the main precursors of the steroid glucuronides. We also found that the presence of testicular androgen in plasma contributes to approx. 70% of plasma androsterone glucuronide and androstane-3 alpha, 17 beta-diol glucuronide. Our data suggest that the adrenal C-19 steroids remaining in circulation after castration in men are converted into potent androgen which are then glucuronidated by UDP-glucuronyltransferase. We also demonstrated that the human prostate cell line LNCaP is capable of converting to a large extent androstenedione into androsterone glucuronide. Our data further confirm that glucuronidation is a major pathway of steroid metabolism in steroid target tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging
  • Androstane-3,17-diol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Androstane-3,17-diol / metabolism
  • Androstenedione / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / metabolism
  • Glucuronates / blood
  • Glucuronates / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Sulfates
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Glucuronates
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Sulfates
  • Androstane-3,17-diol
  • androstane-3,17-diol glucuronide
  • Androstenedione
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone