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The effect of 5 synthetic progestational compounds on 5 alpha reductase activity in genital skin fibroblast monolayers


, : The effect of 5 synthetic progestational compounds on 5 alpha reductase activity in genital skin fibroblast monolayers. Steroids 43(1): 13-24

The suggestion has been made that prentatal exposure to synthetic progestogens contributes to an increased incidence of hypospadias. One potential mechanism for such an effect might be inhibition of 5.alpha.-reductase, a key enzyme in normal male sexual differentiation. The effect of progesterone and of 5 synthetic progestogens upon 5.alpha.-reductase activity were examined in fibroblast monolayers from 12 genital skin cell lines obtained from normal newborn infants, boys with phimosis and hypospadias and a normal adult male. Basal enzyme activities ranged from 0.8-12.1 pmol 5.alpha.-reduced product/.mu.g DNA/h. Progesterone and norethindrone inhibited 5.alpha.-reductase activity in a dose-dependent manner to a maximum of 95% and 50% of basal levels, respectively, at 10-5 M. Similar concentrations (10-5 M) of norethynodrel, ethisterone, DL-norgestrel and d-norgestrel had little or no effect. Studies of cell viability showed that the effects of progesterone and norethindrone were specific for 5.alpha.-reductase and not non-specific toxic effects.

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