Metabolism and receptor binding of nandrolone and testosterone under in vitro and in vivo conditions

in European Journal of Endocrinology
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Abstract. The metabolism and receptor binding of nandrolone (N) and testosterone (T) were studied under in vitro and in vivo conditions. The results of both in vitro incubation studes with 3H-N and 3H-T in tissue homogenates from rats and in vivo infusion studies with 3H-N and 3H-T in conscious rats show the importance of the enzymes 5α-reductase and 3α/β-hydroxysteroid-oxidoreductases in the prostate and the importance of the enzyme 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in the kidney for the effects of N and T on these tissues. Following infusion of a combined dose of 3H-N and 3H-T there is a preferential retention at the receptor of 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) over 5α-dihydronandrolone (DHN), N and T (DHT ⪢ DHN > N > T) in the prostate because T is a better substrate than N for 5α-reductase and because DHT binds more strongly to the androgen receptor than DHN, N and T. In the kidney 5α-reductase is not important; there is a preferential retention of N in T (DHN and DHT were only present in small amounts) because N is less susceptible than T for metabolic inactivation by the enzyme 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and N binds strongly to the androgen receptor. Both in vitro and in vivo studies show that N and T were relatively stable in spleen, thymus and muscular tissue (only shown in vivo) and, as a result, the same amount of N and T was bound to the receptor in these tissues in the in vivo infusion experiment.

In vitro binding studies with the androgen receptor in intact human cells show that 5α-reduction increases the affinity of T and decreases the affinity of N and of the 17α-ethyl derivative of N (3-keto-ethylestrenol).

The results of the present studies explain the relatively strong effect of N, or derivatives of N, compared to that of T on tissues devoid of 5α-reductase activity (e.g. muscular tissue) and they suggest that in particular there may be a strong effect of N on tissues which in addition have a high 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity (e.g. kidney).

 

     European Society of Endocrinology

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