Epiandrosterone is a naturally occurring steroid synthesized in the adrenal cortex, gonads, brain, and gastrointestinal tract. It is less active than androsterone and excreted in small amounts in normal human urine. Epiandrosterone is a metabolite of the most abundant adrenal androgenic steroid dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in young adult humans, but is not completely inactive and is considered an effector as well. Epiandrosterone is a precursor or substrate for cytochrome P450 species and enzymes (EC 188.8.131.52, 25-hydroxycholesterol 7alpha-hydroxylase) that produce 7alpha- and 7beta-hydroxylated metabolites in the human brain and other organs. These 7-hydroxylated derivatives exert anti-glucocorticoid and neuroprotective effects.
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