Twenty authentic steroids, derivatized as O-methyl oximes (MO), trimethylsilyl (TMS) ethers or as MO-TMS ethers have been subjected to capillary gas chromatography using two different columns. Virtually all of the steroid derivatives have been resolved, one difficult pair to separate being 5,16-androstadien-3 beta-ol and 5 alpha-androst-16-en-3 beta-ol on the non-selective phase OV-1. Where syn and anti forms of MO derivatives arose, these were also resolved under the conditions utilised. This technique of 'steroid profiling' has been applied to the separation and quantification of metabolites of pregnenolone which were formed during incubations of the microsomal and cytosolic fractions from rat testes. The majority of the metabolites were found in the microsomal incubation. These compounds included some odorous 16-androstenes as well as other C21 and C19 steroids, the formation of which was consistent with the 5-ene and 4-ene pathways of testosterone biosynthesis being operative. In addition, evidence was obtained for 16 alpha-hydroxylation of C21 steroids. Very much less metabolic activity was found in the cytosolic fraction of rat testes. Metabolic pathways have been proposed which both confirm and extend earlier work. We conclude that the rat testis can only form some of the odorous, possibly pheromonal, 16-androstenes and that these are quantitatively less important than in the porcine testis.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.