Sex hormone secretion by the adrenal cortex

  • Evelyn Howard
  • Claude J. Migeon
Part of the Handbuch der Experimentellen Pharmakologie book series (HEP, volume 14 / 1)


The production of sex hormones by congenital hyperplasias or malignancies of the adrenal cortex has long been recognized as suggestive of a biochemical relationship between the adrenal cortex and the gonads. The embryological origin of these tissues from adjacent portions of the dorsal mesentery provided a plausible background for similarities (Poll 1900, Politzer 1937, Gruenwald 1942). Present developments of enzyme chemistry point toward a qualitative similarity of the biosynthetic systems in all tissues forming steroid hormones (Samuels 1958). Thus, the concept is emerging that these tissues have, to a great degree, the same set of biosynthetic enzymes, but differ in the relative activities or amounts of different individual enzymes. In this view, the biochemical behavior of malignancies need not involve the presence of “embryonic cell rests” of another tissue, or the de novo formation of new enzymes, but simply an abnormally high concentration of certain enzymes normally present in small amounts. In this chapter, we shall summarize the evidence regarding the nature and amount of sex hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex, with primary emphasis on physiological rather than malignant states.


Seminal Vesicle Adrenal Cortex Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adrenal Tumor Adrenal Androgen 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1962

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  • Evelyn Howard
  • Claude J. Migeon

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