Excretion of Steroid Hormones in Adults: C19 and C21 Steroids in Faeces from Pregnant Women

Håkan Eriksson, Jan‐Åke Gustafsson, Jan Sjövall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The C19 and C21 steroids in faeces from pregnant women have been studied by gas chromatography‐mass spectrometry. Over 90% of the steroids identified were unconjugated and had the following general structures: androstane‐3,17‐diol, 3‐hydroxy‐17β‐pregnan‐20‐one, 3‐hydroxy‐17α‐pregnan‐20‐one, 3β‐hydroxy‐5‐pregnen‐20‐one, pregnane‐3,20‐diol, 3,16α‐dihydroxypregnan‐20‐one, 5β‐pregnane‐3α,17α,20α‐triol, pregnane‐3,16α,20‐triol, and 5α‐pregnane‐3,20α,21‐triol. The C21O2 steroid isomers in the monosulphate and “diconjugate” fractions had the 5α configuration whereas both 5α and 5β isomers were present in the free steroid fraction. The major part of the 5α‐steroids carried a 3β‐hydroxyl group whereas the predominant 5β‐steroids had a 3α‐hydroxyl group. The results suggest that steroids excreted in the bile are modified by hydrolase, oxidoreductase and dehydroxylase activities of the intestinal microorganisms. The amount of steroids in a pooled smaple of faeces from a nine‐month pregnant woman corresponded to a daily excretion of 33 mg. This value indicates that faecal excretion is important in the elimination of steroids in pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-526
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1970

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Excretion of Steroid Hormones in Adults: C19 and C21 Steroids in Faeces from Pregnant Women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this