Effect of short- and long-term dexamethasone on 3 alpha-androstanediol glucuronide in hirsute women.Fertil Steril. 1986 Aug; 46(2):227-31.FS
The role of glucocorticoid therapy in regulating plasma 3 alpha-androstanediol glucuronide (3 alpha-diol G) content, a marker of androgen action, in hirsute women was unclear. A pulse injection of adrenocorticotropic hormone (0.5 U) following 1 mg of dexamethasone (DEX) at midnight significantly increased the plasma level of cortisol (P less than 0.01), 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP, P less than 0.01) in 17 hirsute women, but it had an insignificant effect on delta 4-androstenedione (delta 4A), testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), and 3 alpha-diol G. Human chorionic gonadotropin administered for 3 days produced a significant (P less than 0.01) increase only in 17-OHP. DEX administered as a single dose in the late evening failed to affect the plasma levels of these four androgens when measured at 8:00 A.M. In contrast, when the glucocorticoid was given each evening for over 2 months, plasma delta 4A, DHEA-S, and 3 alpha-diol G were suppressed (P less than 0.001) substantially, as compared with baseline values in 12 hirsute women, 7 with polycystic ovary disease and 5 with idiopathic hirsutism. These observations indicate that chronic glucocorticoid therapy suppresses androgen action in hirsute women.