noun, plural: androgens
A sex steroid hormone that is produced in larger quantities in males, chiefly in the testes and the adrenal glands; when bound to androgen receptors, becomes active so that, in males, produce effects that are essential for the development and the maintenance of secondary male sexual characteristics, sperm induction, and sexual differentiation
Androgen is one of the major classes of sex steroids (or sex hormones) of vertebrates, including humans. Other sex steroids include estrogens and progestogens. Androgens are generally considered as male sex hormones. That is because the androgens are responsible for the development and maintenance of secondary male sexual characteristics in males at puberty. They are also involved in sperm induction. They also play a role during sexual differentiation during the embryonic phase.
Androgens include androstenediol (A5), androstenedione (A4), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), androsterone, and testosterone. These androgens become activated when bound to androgen receptors. In males, androgens are produced in the testes and the adrenal glands. Females also produce androgens in the ovaries but relatively at low levels. The androgens may serve as precursors to estrogens in males and females. They also function in libido and sexual arousal. In addition to increasing virility and libido, they also increase nitrogen and water retention and stimulate skeletal growth.
Synthetic androgens are used as medications. Androgens may be used in patients with breast cancer to treat the recurrence of the disease.
Word origin: Greek andr– (“main”)
- androgenic hormone
- androgenic (adjective, of, relating to, or pertaining to androgen; producing male characteristics)
- Androgenic hair