Androstenedione is described as a “prohormone” because it has few effects itself. However, it acts as a major precursor in the manufacture of testosterone and estrogen within the body. Read further to know more about the health effects of this hormone.

What is Androstenedione?

Androstenedione (AD) is an internal androgen steroid hormone and intermediate in the biosynthesis of testosterone from dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).

Under federal laws, the Food and Drug Administration has prohibited the sale of products containing androstenedione highlighting the lack of cooperation between the market and governmental regulators (R).

Compared to the amount found in blood, the concentration of androstenedione is higher in the human testes (R).

Androstenedione and other hormones in pregnant rats are inhibited by noradrenaline and luteinizing hormone (R).

Production of Androstenedione

The porcine uterus produces this hormone during pregnancy and ovulation (R).

Tissue samples from adult and young guinea pigs steadily exposed to androstenedione showed how mature animals hormone production favored testosterone while the immature group produced AD (R).

Health Effects of Androstenedione (AD)

1) Androstenedione Used to Measure Other Hormones

Measuring androstenedione is helpful when assessing the excessive production of androgens, especially during adolescence in male patients diagnosed with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (R).

Higher than normal blood levels is an effective indicator of polycystic ovary syndrome associated androgen overproduction (R).

A study of young adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) demonstrated how the amount of hydroxyprogesterone in the blood relates to the concentration of androstenedione unconstrained by other factors like time of day, gender, and type of CAH (R).

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone blocks the production of this hormone in the blood of men; however, its production is increased by human chorionic gonadotropin (R).

Androstenedione levels measured using saliva are tied to circadian rhythm and the amount of testosterone in the blood, particularly in female teens diagnosed with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (R).

2) Androstenedione Amounts Help Predict an Overall Health Profile

Overall, in the women studied, those with a greater androstenedione to free testosterone ratio had healthier energy production (R).

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome that displayed high levels of testosterone and normal androstenedione readings had a poor digestive profile (R).

This ratio also helps to predict the likelihood that women with polycystic ovary syndrome will develop other metabolism-related diseases (R).

3) Androstenedione Supplements Could Increase Testosterone

In a group of older men that performed resistance training exercise, androstenedione increased the production of testosterone (R).

4) Androstenedione Levels in Women May Indicate Osteoporosis

Compared to normal postmenopausal women, osteoporotic women had significantly lower blood levels of this hormone (AD) and others like estrone (R).

5) Androstenedione May Influence Behavior

High androstenedione in infant female hyenas seems to control aggressive behavior (R).

6) Androstenedione Is Responsible for Activating Cell Death and Estrogen Receptors

According to one study, androstenedione controls the duration of a cell’s life, the manufacture of estrogen receptor beta, and proteins that are related to programmed cell death (R).

7) Androstenedione Implicated in Memory Loss

Young surgically menopausal rats have memory problems when androstenedione is converted into estrone (R).

8) Androstenedione Is Tied to Arthritis

In a group of pre-rheumatoid female arthritis patients, it was observed that decreased cortisol correlated with diminished androstenedione (R).

9) Androstenedione Plays a Role in Bacterial Energy Production of Fats

An investigation into the causative agent of tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in the lungs of mice showed how a strain of the bacteria that is unable to produce a fat digesting enzyme cannot produce androstenedione, unlike the unmutated variety (R).

10) Androstenedione Levels Controlled By Exercise

Rats with polycystic ovary syndrome showed improved symptoms with low-intensity exercise.

Exercise helped to reduce weight and alter the amount of the hormone being produced (R).


1) Androstenedione Levels Are Lower in Girls Born to Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Girls born to women identified as polycystic ovary syndrome sufferers had less androstenedione in their umbilical cord blood compared to children of unaffected women (R).

2) Androstenedione Does Not Activate Cholesterol Pathways

Bacteria (M. smegmatis) grown with cholesterol and androstenedione showed how cholesterol activated many more genes and pathways involved in cholesterol breakdown than AD (R).


  • Despite the lack of evidence of an imminent health hazard and instead of the formal administrative procedure of issuing a proposed rule and inviting public comment, the FDA took unilateral action, issued a press release, held a news conference, and sent warning letters to 23 companies that had manufactured, marketed or distributed the products containing AD (R)
  • Measurement of it in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia provides a useful marker of excessive adrenal androgen production, particularly in pubertal male patients (R)
  • This study demonstrated that low-intensity exercise may cause weight reduction and modify sexual hormones (AD and free testosterone) in polycystic ovary syndrome after eight weeks (R)
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome women with elevated free testosterone levels, but not with isolated androstenedione elevation, have an adverse metabolic phenotype (R)
  • Further, a higher AD/free testosterone ratio was independently associated with a beneficial metabolic profile (R)
  • Simultaneous measurement of serum T and A represents a useful tool for predicting metabolic risk in PCOS women (R)
  • HA levels are a sensitive indicator of PCOS-related androgen excess (R)
  • It appears that short-term androstenedione supplementation augmented acute testosterone responses to resistance exercise in older men (R)
  • We now report significantly reduced blood estrone and androstenedione concentrations in postmenopausal osteoporotic women compared with values in normal women matched for years since menopause (R)
  • Blood 17OHP concentration correlated well with blood AD concentration, independently of sex, type of CAH, and the time of day of blood sampling (R)
  • Salivary androstenedione profiles show a circadian rhythm that is closely associated with blood testosterone concentrations, particularly in pubertal female patients (R)
  • Blood, IT ADD, and IT DHEA are markedly suppressed with GnRH administration and stimulated by hCG, but blood DHEA is not, suggesting that most circulating DHEA is not of testicular origin (R)
  • Female offspring of affected women have lower cord blood A levels; other cord blood androgen levels do not differ compared with female control offspring (R)
  • It seems possible that elevated androstenedione levels in infant females at this age may have organizing or activating effects on aggressive behavior (R)
  • It is concluded that the steady-state equilibrium favors the weak androgen AD in the presence of tissue from the young animals, but favors the potent testosterone in that from the mature animals (R)
  • Our results demonstrate that in the ovary of late pregnant rats, the production of androstenedione is inhibited upon the joint action of noradrenaline in the celiac ganglion and LH in the ovary; this effect is associated with marked changes in the release of catecholamines (neurotransmitters) in the ovary (R)
  • These results indicate that AD may modulate cell survival, production of ER-beta, and proteins related to apoptosis, suggesting a potential mechanism that associates the effect of hyperandrogenemia on the endometrial tissue (R)
  • Our results indicated that cholesterol induced many more genes and increased the production of the majority of genes involved in cholesterol degradation and MCE in M. smegmatis, while androstenedione did not have the same effect (R)
  • The current data supports the tenet that androstenedione impairs memory through its conversion to estrone, rather than via actions on the androgen receptor (R)
  • A subgroup of pre-RA females may have relative adrenal cortical insufficiency, as reflected by lower Δ4A, especially observed among those subjects with lower cortisol levels (R)
  • Production of A4 by the endometrium and myometrium was highest on days 12 to 13 of pregnancy and the estrous cycle (R).
  • ADD and DHEA are highly concentrated within the human testes compared with blood (R).
  • We show that the wild-type strain, H37Rv, metabolizes cholesterol to androst-4-ene-3,17-dione (AD) and androsta-1,4-diene-3,17-dione (ADD), and exports these metabolites into the medium, whereas the fadA5 mutant strain is defective for this activity (R).


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