3 alpha-Androstanediol glucuronide (Adiol G) is a major metabolite of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Adiol G actually represents 2 different compounds, since the glucuronide can be conjugated at the 3-carbon position (Adiol 3-G) or at the 17-carbon position (Adiol 17-G). To determine which glucuronide represents the predominant physiological DHT metabolite and which isomer is the major circulating form, we developed a RIA to directly measure Adiol 3-G in serum extracts. In 10 normal men, mean serum Adiol 3-G and total Adiol G levels were 4.44 +/- 0.49 (+/- SE) nmol/L (208 +/- 23 ng/dL) and 27.9 +/- 2.8 nmol/L (1310 +/- 129 ng/dL), respectively (13.9 +/- 3.0% of Adiol G was Adiol 3-G). In 10 normal women sampled during the early follicular phase, mean serum Adiol 3-G and total Adiol G levels were 2.64 +/- 0.64 nmol/L (124 +/- 30 ng/dL) and 14.9 +/- 1.5 nmol/L (697 +/- 69 ng/dL), respectively (17.4 +/- 3.6% of Adiol G was Adiol 3-G). In 4 normal men infused for 8 h with tritiated DHT, 17.4 +/- 3.4% of the resulting tritiated Adiol G was Adiol 3-G. These results indicate that Adiol 17-G is the predominant circulating form of Adiol G in normal men and women and that it is also the major Adiol G isomer derived from DHT.