Steroid 5α-reductase 2 deficiency

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2016 Oct:163:206-11. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2016.05.020. Epub 2016 May 22.


Dihydrotestosterone is a potent androgen metabolite formed from testosterone by action of 5α-reductase isoenzymes. Mutations in the type 2 isoenzyme cause a disorder of 46,XY sex development, termed 5α-reductase type 2 deficiency and that was described forty years ago. Many mutations in the encoding gene have been reported in different ethnic groups. In affected 46,XY individuals, female external genitalia are common, but Mullerian ducts regress, and the internal urogenital tract is male. Most affected males are raised as females, but virilization occurs at puberty, and male social sex develops thereafter with high frequency. Fertility can be achieved in some affected males with assisted reproduction techniques, and adults with male social sex report a more satisfactory sex life and quality of life as compared to affected individuals with female social sex.

Keywords: Ambiguous genitalia; Androgen action; Dihydrotestosterone; Disorders of sexual differentiation (DSD); Gender identity/behavior.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase / deficiency*
  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Adult
  • Dihydrotestosterone / metabolism*
  • Disorder of Sex Development, 46,XY / enzymology
  • Disorder of Sex Development, 46,XY / genetics*
  • Disorder of Sex Development, 46,XY / pathology
  • Disorder of Sex Development, 46,XY / psychology
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genitalia, Female / abnormalities
  • Genitalia, Female / enzymology*
  • Genitalia, Female / growth & development
  • Genitalia, Male / abnormalities
  • Genitalia, Male / enzymology*
  • Genitalia, Male / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / deficiency*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Differentiation


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • 3-Oxo-5-alpha-Steroid 4-Dehydrogenase
  • SRD5A2 protein, human