17-Hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase (CYP17) is not the enzyme responsible for side-chain cleavage of cortisol and its metabolites

Cedric Shackleton, MS Neres, Beverly Hughes, Paul Stewart, CE Kater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


The question addressed in this study was the nature of the enzyme required to remove the side-chain of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids, leading in the case of cortisol to the excretion of 11beta-hydroxyandrosterone, 11-oxo-androsterone and the corresponding etiocholanolones. We questioned whether it could be CYP17, the 17-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase utilized in androgen synthesis. The conversion of exogenous cortisol to C(19) steroids in patients with complete 17-hydroxylase deficiency (17HD) was studied rationalizing that if CYP17 was involved no C(19) steroids would be formed. The urinary excretion of the four 11-oxy-C(19) steroids as well as many of the major C(21) cortisol metabolites were measured by GC/MS. Our results showed that the conversion of cortisol to C(19) steroids was normal in 17HD indicating that a currently unidentified enzyme must be responsible for this transformation. A secondary goal was to determine to what extent 11-oxy-C(19) steroids were metabolites of cortisol or adrenal synthesized 11beta-hydroxyandrostenedione. Since cortisol-treated 17HD patients cannot produce androstenedione, all C(19) 11-oxy-metabolites excreted must be derived from exogenous cortisol. The extent to which 17HD patients have lower relative excretion of C(19) steroids should reflect the absence of 11beta-hydroxyandrostenedione metabolites. Our results showed almost all of 11-oxo-etiocholanolone and 11beta-hydroxyetiocholanolone were cortisol metabolites, but in contrast the excretion of 11beta-hydroxyandrosterone was less than 10% that of normal individuals, indicating that in excess of 90% must be a metabolite of 11beta-hydroxyandrostenedione.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-6
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008


  • C17,20-lyase
  • urinary steroids
  • steroid metabolism
  • 17-hydroxylase deficiency


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