Metabolism of 19-methyl substituted steroids and a proposal for the third aromatase monooxygenation

Douglas F. Covey, H. L. Carrell, Denise D. Beusen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The article summarizes the results of recent studies on the metabolism of 10-ethylestr-4-ene-3,17-dione, 10-[(1R)-1-hydroxyethyl]-,and 10-[(1S)-1-hydroxyethyl]estr-4-ene-3, 17-dione, in placenta. These compounds are the 19-methyl analogs of androstenedione, 19-hydroxyandrostenedione, and 19-oxoandrostenedione, respectively. No conversion of 10-ethylestr-4-ene-3,17-dione to either estrogens or oxygenated metabolites was detected. Both 10-[(1R)-1-hydroxyethyl]- and 10-[(1S)-1-hydroxyethyl]estr-4-ene-3, 17-dione were oxygenated to 10-(1,1-dihydroxyethyl)estr-4-ene-3,17-dione and isolated following in situ dehydration as 10-acetylestr-4-ene-3,17-dione. Evidence for the involvement of aromatase in these conversions is discussed. No conversion of 10-acetylestr-4-ene-3,17-dione to either estrogens or other oxygenated products was detected. These results lead us to propose a new mechanism for the third aromatase monooxygenation. We propose that the third oxygenation is initiated by 1β-hydrogen abstraction at C1 of 19,19-dihydroxyandrostenedione, followed by homolytic cleavage of the C10-C19 bond with concurrent formation of a Δ1(10),4-3-ketosteroid and a C19 carbon radical, and terminated by oxygen rebound at C19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-374
Number of pages12
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - 1987


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