The effects of human pituitary extracts upon steroid biosynthesis by pieces of human adrenal tissue incubated in Krebs—Ringer bicarbonate buffer have been studied. Experiments with both adult and foetal adrenal tissue have been carried out. Radioactive precursor (either [7-3H]pregnenolone or [4-14C] progesterone) was added to each incubation vessel and the synthesis of radioactively labelled products was estimated by reverse isotope dilution. Individual steroids were characterized by paper and thin-layer chromatography; the radiochemical purity of cortisol, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrostenedione (DHA) and DHA sulphate was established following derivative formation. There was no consistent effect of the pituitary preparations upon the biosynthesis of cortisol, DHA or DHA sulphate, nor upon the ratio of cortisol to the combined production of DHA and DHA sulphate. However, the production of androstenedione from both [7-3H]pregnenolone and [4-14C]progesterone was significantly increased in the presence of pituitary and gonadotrophic preparations.
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