Characterization of a Δ5-3β-hydroxy pathway of testosterone synthesis in the human spermatozoa

R. Gunasegaram, A. Loganath, K. L. Peh, P. C T Chew, S. S. Ratnam, S. Arulkumaran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sonicated specimens of freshly ejaculated sperm from two groups of husbands (n = 6, age 32-38 years; n = 7, age 27-38 years) of infertile couples in the range of sperm concentration between 237.5 and 568.5; 131.1 and 256.7 millions per ejaculate were separately incubated with [7n-3H]pregnenolone and [1,2,6,7-3H]dehydroepiandrosterone. Using the reverse-isotope dilution technique [3H]dehydroepiandrosterone and [3H]testosterone formed from the respective substrates were isolated and characterized, yielding 1.2 x 10-2 to 4.6 x 10-2% and 7.1 x 10-2 to 2.5 x 10-1%. Such metabolites were not evident in the controls. These results provide evidence for metabolic transformation of pregnenolone to testosterone via the Δ5-3β-hydroxy route.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Andrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • 17α-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase
  • 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-5,4-ene isomerase
  • dehydroepiandrosterone
  • human spermatozoa
  • male infertility
  • testosterone
  • testosterone synthesis


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