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Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (Full name: 5α-Dihydrotestosterone, abbreviating to 5α-DHT; INN: androstanolone) is a biologically active metabolite of the hormone testosterone, formed primarily in the prostate gland, testes, hair follicles, and adrenal glands by the enzyme 5α-reductase by means of reducing the 4,5 double-bond. Dihydrotestosterone belongs to the class of compounds called androgens, also commonly called androgenic hormones or testoids. Androgens are part of the biology of gender by stimulating and controlling the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics. DHT is 3 times more potent than testosterone; testosterone is 5-10 times more potent than adrenal androgens.
DHT is produced by males in utero and is responsible for the formation of male gender specific characteristics. DHT is an important contributor to other characteristics generally attributed to males, including facial and body hair growth, and deepening of the voice. DHT also plays a crucial role in both sex drive and the growth of muscle tissue.
DHT is the primary contributing factor in male-pattern baldness. Unlike men with male-pattern baldness, women with female-pattern baldness are characterized by increased production rates of T, but not of DHT. Women with increased levels of DHT may develop certain androgynous male secondary sex characteristics, including a deepened voice and facial hair. DHT also plays a role in the development or exacerbation of benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, and prostate cancer, by enlarging the prostate gland.
DHT is also known to participate in the development of acne.
The drugs belonging to the group known as 5α-reductase inhibitors are used for treatment of problems stemming from DHT. This group includes finasteride (sold under the names Proscar for BPH and Propecia for androgenic alopecia as well as in generic formulation) and dutasteride (sold under the name Avodart). Dutasteride is three times more potent than finasteride inhibiting the type II enzyme and 100 times more potent than finasteride inhibiting the type I form of the DHT producing enzyme. Dutasteride is not approved by the FDA for the treatment of Male Pattern Hair Loss and is approved at a dose of 0.5 mg a day for the treatment of prostate enlargement. While both the type I and type II enzymes are found in the hair follicle, there is a recent study which shows that type I is present in the human brain. The function of this enzyme in the brain is still unclear.
Currently, DHT supplementation is not used as a treatment for DHT/androgen deficiency.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dihydrotestosterone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|