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Androgen Hormone

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MVSAT 2024

A group of hormones which plays a crucial role in male traits and male reproductive activity is termed androgen. Androgen is present in both males and females, but it is more commonly known as a male hormone. 

Its main function is the development and regulation of male characteristics by combining with androgen receptors. Some of these include the development of male primary sex organs, development of male secondary sex features at puberty stage, etc. Synthesis of androgen takes place inside the testes of the male reproductive organ, the ovary of the female reproductive organ and also inside the adrenal gland

The term androgen was taken from the Greek word “andr” which means the stem of the word meaning man. At the time of puberty, there is an increase in androgen levels in both males and females. The major part of male androgen is commonly known as testosterone apart from which Dihydrotestosterone(DHT) and androstenedione are equally important for development in males. Amount of androgen secretion in females is very low and their main function is in libido and sexual arousal. 

Apart from its role in sexual growth, it is also used in medication processes like in  androgen replacement therapy and anabolic steroid articles.

Function of Androgen

There are so many biological functions which are controlled by androgen hormones like the stimulation of puberty, hair growth in both pubic and underarms areas. Along with that it also helps in the functioning of various organs like bones, muscles, kidney and many more. It also helps in the synthesis of estrogen hormone. Some of the important function of estrogen is discussed below:

  • Testes formation: During the growth of mammalian body development of ovaries and testes are considered major development. In 4 weeks, only the development of gonads gets started. And in testes development, estrogen plays a crucial role

  • Androgen effects: During the formation of Sertoli cells to support sperm, androgen plays a major role. Androgen is also required during the masculinization of developing male fetus. 

  • Androgen is helpful in the conversion of testosterone to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT). 

  • When puberty hits males, there is a drastic increase in androgen level. This help in the development of masculine secondary sexual characteristics in males along with activation of spermatogenesis and fertility and masculine behavioural changes inside male-like gynephilia and increased sex drive. Masculine secondary sexual characteristics lead to changes in androgenic hair, voice deepening, the emergence of Adam's apple, broadening of the shoulders, increased muscle mass, and penile growth.

  • At the adulthood phase, androgen along with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) act on Sertoli cells for sperm production which is also known as spermatogenesis. 

  • As we all know males have more skeletal mass than females and in this enlargement, androgen plays a major role. 

  • Level of androgen inside the human body can also affect the functioning of the human brain as some neurons are sensitive to steroid hormones. Androgen levels also affect the aggression of humans.

  • Androgen also helps in producing anabolic effects on carbohydrate metabolism and protein.

Androgen Production

Synthesis of adrenal hormone occurs inside the adrenal gland and the ovaries. During synthesis, there occurs the conversion of cholesterol (1,2). More amount of androgen is produced by testes than the ovary. The conversion process of testosterone to produce more potent DHT occurs in the prostate gland, liver, brain and skin. Testosterone is also synthesised by muscle and fat tissue. 

Hormonal Levels

When puberty hits both male and females there occurs a change in hormonal level. A change in this hormonal level depends on various factors like age, sex of individuals. With an increase in age hormonal production also starts decreasing. As per studies, it is assumed that when a female is pregnant then change in hormonal level will be more if the fetus is a male child. There are various reasons which lead to a change in hormone level. Some of the known reasons are  discussed below:

  • Chemotherapy.

  • Hypopituitarism.

  • Adrenal insufficiency.

  • Very early menopause.

  • Surgically-induced menopause.

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency.

  • Side effects for medication including birth control and other hormone therapy containing estrogen.

  • HIV

Increase in Androgen Level

Increases in androgen level inside the body can cause several abnormalities inside the body. So these abnormalities are discussed below. 

  1. Acne.

  2. Inferility.

  3. Anovulation.

  4. Absent periods.

  5. Irregular periods.

  6. Excess hair growth

Disease Happen Due To High Androgen Level:

  • Tumours on the adrenal gland

  • Poly Ovarian syndrome

  • Tumours on the ovaries

  • Hyperprolactinemia (high amount of prolactin is being produced)

  • Cushing’s disease (9,10,12)

Decrease in Androgen Level

There are so many symptoms which are shown by the human body when there is a decrease in androgen level. Some of the symptoms of low androgen level are discussed below:

  • Sweating.

  • Hot flushes.

  • Depression.

  • Osteoporosis.

  • Mood swings.

  • Loss of body hair.

  • Breast development.

  • Lethargy and fatigue.

  • Reduced sexual desire.

  • Reduced amount of ejaculate.

  • weaker erections and orgasms.

  • Reduced muscle mass and strength.

  • Increased body fat, particularly around the abdomen.

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FAQs on Androgen Hormone

1. What Causes an Increase in Androgen Level in Females?

Ans. As per studies, in healthy females, the ovaries and adrenal glands produce about 40% to 50% of the body's testosterone. But if a female is suffering from tumours of the ovaries and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can both cause too much androgen production.

2.  What is the Major Androgen?

Ans. Androgen is present in both male and female, but it is more commonly known as male hormones. Its main function is the development and regulation of male characteristics. And among them one of the major androgens is testosterone.

3. Which Hormone Regulates the Synthesis of Androgen Hormone?

Ans. Testicular androgen hormone secretion is controlled by luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which also affects the Leydig cell response to the LH. 

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