Inhibition of 5α-reductase alters pregnane metabolism in the late pregnant mare

Michelle A.A. Wynn, Barry A. Ball, Erin Legacki, Alan Conley, Shavahn Loux, John May, Alejandro Esteller-Vico, Scott Stanley, Kirsten Scoggin, Edward Squires, Mats Troedsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In the latter half of gestation in the mare, progesterone concentrations decline to near undetectable levels while other 5α-reduced pregnanes are elevated. Of these, 5α-dihydroprogesterone and allopregnanolone have been reported to have important roles in either pregnancy maintenance or fetal quiescence. During this time, the placenta is necessary for pregnane metabolism, with the enzyme 5α-reductase being required for the conversion of progesterone to 5α-dihydroprogesterone. The objectives of this study were to assess the effects of a 5α-reductase inhibitor, dutasteride on pregnane metabolism (pregnenolone, progesterone, 5α-dihydroprogesterone, 20α-hydroxy-5α-pregnan-3-one, 5α-pregnane-3β5,20α-diol and allopregnanolone), to determine circulating dutasteride concentrations and to assess effects of dutasteride treatment on gestational parameters. Pregnant mares (n = 5) received dutasteride (0.01 mg/kg/day, IM) and control mares (n = 4) received vehicle alone from 300 to 320 days of gestation or until parturition. Concentrations of dutasteride, pregnenolone, progesterone, 5α-dihydroprogesterone, 20α-hydroxy-5α-pregnan-3-one, 5α-pregnane-3β5,20α-diol, and allopregnanolone were evaluated via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Samples were analyzed as both days post treatment and as days prepartum. No significant treatment effects were detected in pregnenolone, 5α-dihydroprogesterone, 20α-hydroxy-5α-pregnan-3-one, 5α-pregnane-3β5,20α-diol or allopregnanolone for either analysis; however, progesterone concentrations were increased (P < 0.05) sixfold in dutasteride-treated mares compared to control mares. Dutasteride concentrations increased in the treated mares, with a significant correlation (P < 0.05) between dutasteride concentrations and pregnenolone or progesterone concentrations. Gestational length and neonatal outcomes were not significantly altered in dutasteride-treated mares. Although 5α-reduced metabolites were unchanged, these data suggest an accumulation of precursor progesterone with inhibition of 5α-reductase, indicating the ability of dutasteride to alter progesterone metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for Reproduction and Fertility.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Embryology
  • Endocrinology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Cell Biology


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