Zona Reticularis And Dehydroepiandrosterone

Up to 30 mg of DHEA is secreted daily by the innermost zone of the adrenal cortex, and the blood levels of this hormone and its sulfate derivative are fairly high (Table 10-2). DHEA is considered to be a weak androgen. It can be converted to testosterone and an-drostenediol, as shown in Figure 2-23. When the aromatase system of enzymes is present, DHEA can be converted to estrogens, as summarized in Figure 1411. Surprisingly, little is known concerning the direct actions of DHEA other than its serving as a substrate for the production of sex hormones, although there have been reports of the discovery of a receptor for DHEA.

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