Objective: Chronic smoking alters the circulating levels of sex hormones and possibly also the neuroactive steroids, however, the data available is limited.
Patients and methods: Therefore, a broad spectrum of free and conjugated steroids and related substances was quantified by GCMS and RIA in premenopausal smokers and in age-matched (38.9±7.3 years of age) non-smokers in the follicular (FP) and luteal phases (LP) of menstrual cycle (10 non-smokers and 10 smokers, in the FP, and 10 non-smokers and 8 smokers in the LP). The local Ethics Committee approved the study.
Results: Smokers in both phases of the menstrual cycle showed higher levels of conjugated 17-hydroxypregnenolone, 5α-dihydroprogesterone, conjugated isopregnanolone, conjugated 5α-pregnane-3β,20α-diol, conjugated androstenediol, androstenedione, testosterone, free testosterone, conjugated 5α-androstane-3α/β,17β-diols, and higher free testosterone index. In the FP, the smokers exhibited higher levels of conjugated pregnenolone, progesterone, conjugated pregnanolone, lutropin and higher lutropin/follitropin ratio, but lower levels of cortisol, allopregnanolone, and pregnanolone. In the LP, the smokers exhibited higher levels of free and conjugated 20α-dihydropregnenolone, free and conjugated dehydroepiandrosterone, free androstenediol, 5α-dihydrotestosterone, free and conjugated androsterone, free and conjugated epiandrosterone, free and conjugated etiocholanolone, 7α/β-hydroxy-dehydroepiandrosterone isomers, and follitropin but lower levels of estradiol and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and lower values of lutropin/follitropin ratio.
Conclusion: Chronic cigarette smoking augments serum androgens and their 5α/β-reduced metabolites (including GABAergic substances) but suppresses levels of estradiol in the LP and SHBG and may induce hyperandrogenism in female smokers. The female smokers had pronouncedly increased serum progestogens but paradoxically suppressed levels of their GABA-ergic metabolites. Further investigation is needed concerning the machinery of these effects.
The study was supported by grant 10215-3 IGA MZCR.
30 Apr - 04 May 2011
European Society of Endocrinology