Bidlingmaier, F.; Dörr, H. G.; Eisenmenger, Wolfgang; Kuhnle, U.; Knorr, D.
Contribution of the adrenal gland to the production of androstenedione and testosterone during the first two years of life.
In: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol. 62, No. 2: pp. 331-335
Androstenedione and testosterone were measured in whole adrenal glands of 56 previously healthy boys who died suddenly between birth and 2 yr of age. In each adrenal gland, the concentration of androstenedione considerably exceeded that of testosterone. The highest concentrations were found during the first week of life (median, 295 ng/g; range, 98- 320 ng/g). Thereafter, values decreased rapidly until the end of the first year of life (median, 10 ng/g; range, 4.4-22.7 ng/g). Adrenal testosterone concentrations averaged 15% of those of androstenedione in the same gland and similarly decreased until the end of the first year. The decrease of adrenal androgen concentrations paralleled the involution of the fetal adrenal zone. A close correlation existed between the concentration of androstenedione in adrenal tissue and plasma. However, no correlation existed between adrenal and plasma testosterone. When the adrenals and testes of the same infant were compared, there was 10 times more androstenedione in the adrenals than in the testes during the first 2 yr of life. The testes contained more testosterone than the adrenals only during the first 4 months. Thus, in infant boys the adrenals are the main source of androstenedione during the first 2 yr. After the sixth month of life, they also are the main source of testosterone.