Rat adrenal 5 alpha-reductase mRNA content and enzyme activity are sex hormone dependent

J Mol Endocrinol. 1991 Apr;6(2):163-70. doi: 10.1677/jme.0.0060163.


To investigate the effects of sex hormones on 5 alpha-reductase, we examined 5 alpha-reductase mRNA content and enzyme activity in the adrenal cortex of peripubertal male and female rats. In male rats, the influence of castration or hormone-replacement treatment with dihydrotestosterone (5 alpha-DHT) on 5 alpha-reductase was assessed. To stimulate ovarian sex hormone production in immature female rats, the effect of a single injection of 5 IU pregnant mare serum gonadotrophin (PMSG) on 5 alpha-reductase was examined. The efficacy of the treatments was demonstrated by measuring serum LH and ventral prostate weight in male rats, and serum oestradiol and ovarian weight in female rats. Growth hormone was also measured across all treatments in male and female rats. Adrenal 5 alpha-reductase mRNA levels were determined by RNA blot analysis utilizing a rat 5 alpha-reductase cDNA as probe. 5 alpha-Reductase enzyme activity was estimated by isolating [3H]5 alpha-DHT by thin-layer chromatography after incubation with [3H]testosterone. The identity of the [3H]5 alpha-DHT formed was demonstrated by recrystallization of the derivatized DHT to constant specific activity. In controls, adrenal cortical 5 alpha-reductase mRNA content was nearly four times higher in immature female rats compared with intact peripubertal males. Castration resulted in a sevenfold increase in adrenal 5 alpha-reductase mRNA content compared with that in intact controls, while in DHT-injected castrated animals the mRNA level was nearly undetectable. The content of adrenal 5 alpha-reductase mRNA in anoestrous rats was nearly four times higher than in PMSG-treated animals.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Adrenal Cortex / drug effects
  • Adrenal Cortex / enzymology*
  • Animals
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Gonadotropins, Equine / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Prostate / anatomy & histology
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Maturation*


  • Gonadotropins, Equine
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase