Biochemical Determinants in Gender Identity

Conference paper
Part of the Pädiatrie und Pädologie book series (PÄD SUPPL, volume 5)


The purpose of this communication is to report cognate studies which suggest that the nature of the peripheral metabolism of testosterone may impart gender direction to thought construction and motive.

In patients with the complete testicular feminizing syndrome [4], the XO/XY syndrome [4], female trans-sexualism [4] and testicular agenesis [5] HCG-tests of 3 days duration were performed, and plasma and urinary testosterone, urinary excretion of 5α-androstane, 3α,17β-diol (5α-diol), 5β-androstane, 3α,17β-diol (5β-diol) and epiandrosterone before and after stimulation were measured. In addition steroid transformation was examined by incubation studies with human fetal brain tissue. The results of the latter method presented here are in agreement with published work.

It seems clear therefore that the peripheral levels of androgens, oestrogens and their metabolites combine with cerebral steroid transformation, metabolism and possibly also synthesis in order to establish gender identity. Exploration of the role of peripheral hormones as stimulators of both gender identity and gender function has dictated the need for a new approach to therapy for gender abnormalities in psyche and soma.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baulieu, E.-E., Lasnitzki, I., Robel, P.: Metabolism of Testosterone and Action of Metabolites on Prostate Glands Grown in Organ Culture. Nature 219, 1155 (1968).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berthou, F. L., Bardou, L. G., Flock, H. H.: Measurement of 5a-Androstan-3a,17ßDiol and 5ß-Androstan-3a,17ß-Diol in the Urine of Healthy Men and Women. J. Steroid Biochem. 2, 141 (1971).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chapman, P. H.: The Urinary Metabolites of Testosterone: An Index of Testicular Function in Children. Thesis Submitted to Glasgow University for the Degree of Ph. D. November, 1976.Google Scholar
  4. Doberne, Y., New, M. I.: Urinary Androstanediol and Testosterone in Adults. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 42, 152 (1976).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hall, R., Anderson, J., Smart, G. A., Besser, M.: In Fundamentals of Clinical Endocrinology (eds. R. Hall, J. Anderson, G. A. Stuart, M. Besser), p. 145. London: Pitman Medical 1974.Google Scholar
  6. Hamilton, W., Walker, D. M.: Quaesto quid Juris? Medicine, Science and the Law 15, 2 (1975).Google Scholar
  7. Horton, R., Tait, J. F.: Androstenedione Production and Interconversion Rates Measured in Peripheral Blood and Studies on the Possible Site of its Conversion to Testosterone. J. Clin. Invest. 45, 301 (1966).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Judd, H. L., Hamilton, C. R., Barlow, J. J., Yen, S. S. C., Kliman, B.: Androgen and Gonadotrophin Dynamics in Testicular Feminization Syndrome. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 34, 299 (1972).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Keenan, B. S., Meyer III, W. J., Hadjiam, A. J., Jones, H.W., Migeon, C. J.: Syndrome of Androgen Insensitivity in Man Absent of 5-Alpha-dihydrotestosterone Binding Protein in Skin Fibroblasts. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 38, 1143 (1974).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kumar, T. C. A.: Sexual Differences in the Ependyma Lining the Third Ventricle in the Area of the Anterior Hypothalamus of Adult Rhesus Monkeys. Z. Zellforsch. 90, 28 (1968).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kuttenn, F., Mauvais-Jarvis, P.: Testosterone 5a-Reduction in Skin of Normal Subjects and of Patients With Abnormal Sex Development. Acta Endocr. (Kbh.) 79, 164 (1975).Google Scholar
  12. Massa, R., Martini, L.: Testosterone Metabolism: A Necessary Step for Activity ? J. Steroid Biochem. 5, 941 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mauvais-Jarvis, P., Flock, H. H., Jung, I., Robel, P., Baulieu, E.-E.: Studies on Testosterone Metabolism. VI. Precursors of Urinary Androstanediols. Steroids 11, 207 (1968).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mauvais-Jarvis, P., Bercovici, J. P., Crepy, C., Gauthier, F.: Studies on Testosterone Metabolism in Subjects With Testicular Feminization Syndrome. J. Clin. Invest. 49, 31 (1970).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mauvais-Jarvrs, P., Charransol, G., Bobas-Masson, F.: Simultaneous Determination of Urinary Androstanediol and Testosterone as an Evaluation of Human Androgenicity. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 36, 452 (1973).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morris, J. M.: The Syndrome of Testicular Feminization in Male Pseudohermaphrodites. Am. J. Obstet. Gynec. 65, 1192 (1953).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Naftolin, F., Ryan, K. J., Petro, Z.: Aromatization of Androstenedione by the Di-encephalon. J. Clin. Endocr. 33, 368 (1971).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Naftolin, F., Ryan, K. J., Petro, Z.: Aromatization of Androstenedione by the Anterior Hypothalamus of Adult Male and Female Rats. Endocrinology 90, 295 (1972).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Naftolin, F., Ryan, K. J., Petro, Z.: Aromatization of Androstenedione by Limbic Tissue From Human Foetuses. J. Endocr. 51, 795 (1976).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Prader, A.: Testicular Size: Assessment and Clinical Importance. Triangle 7, 240 (1966).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Qazi, Q. H., Hill, J. G.: A Modified Method for the Estimation of Pregnanediol, Pregnanetriol and 7 Common 17-Ketosteroids in Urine by Gas Liquid. Steroids 22, 311 (1973).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Robel, P., Emiliozzi, R., Baulieu, E.-E.: Studies on Testosterone Metabolism. III. The Selective 5ß-Metabolism of Testosterone Glucuronide. J. biol. Chem. 241, 20 (1966a).PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Robel, P., Emiliozzi, R., Baulieu, E.-E.: Studies on Testosterone Metabolism. V. Testosterone-3H, 17-Glucuronide-“C to 5ß-Androstane-3a,17ß-Diol-3H,17-Glucuronide-14C, the ”direct“ 5ß-Metabolism of Testosterone Glucuronide. J. Biol. Chem. 241, 5879 (1966b).Google Scholar
  24. Sholiton, L. J., Hall, I. L., Werk, E. E.: The Iso-polar Metabolites Produced by Incubation of [4–14C] Testosterone With Rat and Bovine Brain. Acta Endocr. (Kbh.) 63, 512 (1970).Google Scholar
  25. Weisz, J., Gibbs, C.: Conversion of Testosterone and Androstenedione to Estrogens in Vitro by the Brain of Female Rats. Endocrinology 94, 616 (1974).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Department of Child HealthGlasgowUK
  2. 2.Royal HospitalYorkhill GlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations