Bidlingmaier, F.; Strom, T. M.; Dorr, H. G.; Eisenmenger, Wolfgang; Knorr, D.
Estrone and estradiol concentrations in human ovaries, testes, and adrenals during the first two years of life.
In: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol. 65: pp. 862-867
To determine the origin of estrogens in infant blood, we measured estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2) in the gonads of 50 girls and 64 boys who died suddenly between birth and 2 yr of age as well as in the adrenals of 18 of these infant girls and 16 of the boys. In the adrenals, E1 [median, 2.8 ng/g (10.4 pmol/g); range, 1.1-4.8 ng/g (4.1- 17.8 pmol/g)] and E2 [median, 3.0 ng/g (10.9 pmol/g); range, 1.2-5.3 ng/g (4.4-19.5 pmol/g)] were found in similar concentrations and were independent of age and sex. In the gonads, E2 was the major estrogen, but the concentrations differed markedly between the sexes; E2 exceeded E1 almost 10-fold in the ovaries and 2-fold in the testes. On the average, the gonads of the infant girls had 5 times more E2 and 2 times more E1 than those of the boys. As in plasma, E2 concentrations were highest in the ovaries of 1- to 6-month-old girls [median, 10.5 ng/g (38.5 pmol/g); range, 1.1-55.1 ng/g (4.0-202.0 pmol/g)] and in testes of 1- to 3-month-old boys [median, 1.8 ng/g (6.6 pmol/g); range, 0.6- 6.4 ng/g (2.3-23.5 pmol/g)]. Ovarian E2 concentrations declined to less than 3.0 ng/g (11.0 pmol/g) by the end of the first year of life, and testicular E2 declined to less than 1.0 ng/g (3.7 pmol/g) after only 6 months of age. Gonadal estrogen concentrations paralleled changes in gonadal morphology. Ovarian weights varied in a pattern of rise and fall similar to that of ovarian E2 concentrations; the biggest ovaries contained multiple macroscopic cysts. Testicular E2 closely correlated with Leydig cell development and testicular testosterone concentrations. We infer, therefore, that the surge of plasma E2 in infant girls originates from ovarian follicles and that of boys from testicular Leydig cells, and that these both occur as a result of the postnatal surge in gonadotropin secretion. The basal plasma E1 and E2 pool, however, is derived from the adrenals and remains at a comparatively constant level in both sexes