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The adrenal cortex and sexual differentiation during early human development

The adrenal cortex and sexual differentiation during early human development
The adrenal cortex and sexual differentiation during early human development
Human sexual differentiation is a critical process whereby a strict dimorphism is established that enables future reproductive success as phenotypic males and females. Significant components of this differentiation pathway unfold during the first three months of gestation when they are sensitive to disruption by abnormal hormonal influences. Excessive exposure of female development to androgens in conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia causes virilization. However, recently we have suggested that female development normally takes place in the presence of low, yet significant, levels of androgen, implying a need for strict regulation to avoid virilization and the potential for a biological role of androgens in females that has not been fully elucidated. Here, we review androgen-dependent male differentiation of the external genitalia in humans, and link this to current understanding of female development and steroidogenesis in the developing adrenal cortex.
androgens, female, adrenal cortex, differentiation, exposure, review, role, human, genetics, male, congenital, humans
1389-9155
7pp
Asby, Daniel J.
d7bc348c-1cb5-4df1-88a5-20940c0d2b3c
Arlt, Wiebke
fcf7aa71-468a-4097-b2cc-a04b283e53c7
Hanley, Neil A.
bf03f7bb-f377-44fb-8344-0bb1ca8b2ef9
Asby, Daniel J.
d7bc348c-1cb5-4df1-88a5-20940c0d2b3c
Arlt, Wiebke
fcf7aa71-468a-4097-b2cc-a04b283e53c7
Hanley, Neil A.
bf03f7bb-f377-44fb-8344-0bb1ca8b2ef9

Asby, Daniel J., Arlt, Wiebke and Hanley, Neil A. (2008) The adrenal cortex and sexual differentiation during early human development. Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders, 10 (1), 7pp.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Human sexual differentiation is a critical process whereby a strict dimorphism is established that enables future reproductive success as phenotypic males and females. Significant components of this differentiation pathway unfold during the first three months of gestation when they are sensitive to disruption by abnormal hormonal influences. Excessive exposure of female development to androgens in conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia causes virilization. However, recently we have suggested that female development normally takes place in the presence of low, yet significant, levels of androgen, implying a need for strict regulation to avoid virilization and the potential for a biological role of androgens in females that has not been fully elucidated. Here, we review androgen-dependent male differentiation of the external genitalia in humans, and link this to current understanding of female development and steroidogenesis in the developing adrenal cortex.

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More information

Published date: 1 August 2008
Keywords: androgens, female, adrenal cortex, differentiation, exposure, review, role, human, genetics, male, congenital, humans
Organisations: Human Genetics

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 69362
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/69362
ISSN: 1389-9155
PURE UUID: decdd3be-6a1e-4439-91fe-239c9fb2eeba

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Nov 2009
Last modified: 25 Oct 2017 18:17

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Contributors

Author: Daniel J. Asby
Author: Wiebke Arlt
Author: Neil A. Hanley

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