Template:Drugbox 17-Hydroxypregnenolone (also 17-OH-pregnenolone and 17α-hydroxypregnenolone), is a C21 steroid that is obtained by hydroxylation of pregnenolone at the C17α position. This step is performed by the mitochondrial cytochrome P450 enzyme 17α-hydroxylase (CYP17A1) that is present in the adrenal and gonads. Peak levels are reached in humans at the end of puberty and then decline. High levels are also achieved during pregnancy.
This conversion is mediated by the enzyme 17,20 lyase. As such 17-OH-pregenolone represents an intermediary in the delta-5-pathway that leads from pregnenolone to DHEA. 17-hydroxypregneolone is also converted to 17-hydroxyprogesterone, a prohormone for glucocorticosteroids and androstenedione through the activity of 3-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase.
Measurements of 17-OH-pregnenolone are useful in the diagnosis of certain forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. In patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency 17-OH-pregnenolone is increased, while in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 17 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency levels are low to absent.
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