The metabolism of [4-14C]-androst-4-ene-3,17-dione was studied in the liver microsomal fraction of 20 patients with cholesterol gallstone disease and nine with adenomyoma of the gallbladder wall (controls). The total conversion of androstenedione was 10-15% in both groups of patients. The 5α-reductase activity was about 30% lower in the patients with cholesterol gallstones (P<0.01), whereas no difference in the activities of 6β-hydroxylase and 17β-hydroxysteroid oxidoreductase were observed. The results give no evidence for any generalized impairment of the hepatic microsomal mixed function oxidase in patients with cholesterol gallstone disease. It is speculated that the decreased 5α-reductase activity is related to the increased hepatic cholesterol content observed in the gallstone patients.
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