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Female Sex Steroid Hormones
- May 15, 2018 -

                             Female Sex Steroid Hormones

In females, LH binds to thecal cells of the ovary, where it stimulates the synthesis of androstenedione and testosterone by the usual cAMP- and PKA-regulated pathway. An additional enzyme complex known as aromatase is responsible for the final conversion of the latter 2 molecules into the estrogens. Aromatase is a complex endoplasmic reticulum enzyme found in the ovary and in numerous other tissues in both males and females. Its action involves hydroxylations and dehydrations that culminate in aromatization of the A ring of the androgens.

Synthesis of the female sex hormones

Synthesis of the major female sex hormones in the ovary. Synthesis of testosterone and androstenedione from cholesterol occurs by the same pathways as indicated for synthesis of the male sex hormones. Aromatase (also called estrogen synthetase) is CYP19A1.

Aromatase activity is also found in granulosa cells, but in these cells the activity is stimulated by FSH. Normally, thecal cell androgens produced in response to LH diffuse to granulosa cells, where granulosa cell aromatase converts these androgens to estrogens. As granulosa cells mature they develop competent large numbers of LH receptors in the plasma membrane and become increasingly responsive to LH, increasing the quantity of estrogen produced from these cells. Granulosa cell estrogens are largely, if not all, secreted into follicular fluid. Thecal cell estrogens are secreted largely into the circulation, where they are delivered to target tissue by the same globulin (GBG) used to transport testosterone.