The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of 11-Oxygenated Androgens in Human Physiology and Disease

Horm Res Paediatr. 2018;89(5):284-291. doi: 10.1159/000486036. Epub 2018 May 9.


The 11-oxyandrogens, particularly 11-ketotestosterone, have been recognized as a biologically important gonadal androgen in teleost (bony) fishes for decades, and their presence in human beings has been known but poorly understood. Today, we recognize that 11-oxyandrogens derive from the human adrenal glands and are major bioactive androgens, particularly in women and children. This article will review their biosynthesis and metabolism, abundance in normal and pathologic states, and potential as biomarkers of adrenal developmental changes and disease. Specifically, 11-oxyandrogens are the dominant active androgens in many patients with 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

Keywords: 11-Hydroxylase; 21-Hydroxylase deficiency; Adrenal glands; Adrenarche; Androgen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Glands / growth & development*
  • Adrenal Hyperplasia, Congenital / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Testosterone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Testosterone / metabolism


  • Testosterone
  • 11-ketotestosterone

Supplementary concepts

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21 hydroxylase deficiency