Male and female isoenzymes of steroid 5α-reductase

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19 Scopus citations


There are two steroid 5α-reductase isoenzymes, designated type 1 and type 2, in mammals and recent experiments show that each plays a unique physiological role. In this article, the hypothesis is developed that the type 1 gene specifies a female isoenzyme, whereas the type 2 gene specifies a male isoenzyme. This idea results from the following observations. First, mutation of the 5α-reductase type 1 gene in mice affects reproduction in females by decreasing fecundity and blocking parturition, but has no effect on reproduction in males. Second, mutation of the 5α-reductase type 2 gene in mice and men prevents proper virilization but does not affect development or reproductive function in females. Analyses of these diverse phenotypes indicate that the isoenzymes catalyse both anabolic and catabolic reactions in steroid hormone metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-183
Number of pages5
JournalReviews of Reproduction
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 14 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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