The effects of testosterone in humans and other vertebrates occur by way of two main mechanisms: by activation of the androgen receptor (directly or as DHT), and by conversion to estradiol and activation of certain estrogen receptors. Free testosterone (T) is transported into the cytoplasm of target tissue cells, where it can bind to the androgen receptor, or can be reduced to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the cytoplasmic enzyme 5α-reductase. DHT binds to the same androgen receptor even more strongly than T, so that its androgenic potency is about 2.5 times that of T. The T-receptor or DHT-receptor complex undergoes a structural change that allows it to move into the cell nucleus and bind directly to specific nucleotide sequences of the chromosomal DNA. The areas of binding are called hormone response elements (HREs), and influence transcriptional activity of certain genes, producing the androgen effects.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone from the androgen group. Testosterone is primarily secreted from the testes of males. In females, it is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and by conversion of adrostenedione in the periphery. It is the principal male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In both males and females, it plays key roles in health and well-being. Examples include enhanced libido, energy, immune function, and protection against osteoporosis. On average, the adult male body produces about twenty times the amount of testosterone than an adult female's body does.
Testosterone is metabolized to 17-keto steroids through two different pathways. The major active metabolites are estradiol and dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Side effects include amnesia, anxiety, discolored hair, dizziness, dry skin, hirsutism, hostility, impaired urination, paresthesia, penis disorder, peripheral edema, sweating, and vasodilation.
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