GC-MS-based metabolic signatures reveal comparative steroidogenic pathways between fetal and adult mouse testes

Soyun Han, Takashi Baba, Shogo Yanai, Dong Jun Byun, Ken ichirou Morohashi, Jae Hong Kim, Man Ho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Previous studies on gonadal steroidogenesis have not compared metabolic pathways between fetal and adult mouse testes to date. Objectives: To evaluate comparative metabolic signatures of testicular steroids between fetus and adult mice using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)-based steroid profiling. Materials and methods: GC-MS with molecular-specific scan modes was optimized for selective and sensitive detection of 23 androgens, 7 estrogens, 14 progestogens, and 13 corticoids from mouse testes with a quantification limit of 0.1-5.0 ng/mL and reproducibility (coefficient of variation: 0.3%-19.9%). Based on 26 steroids quantitatively detected in testes, comparative steroid signatures were analyzed for mouse testes of 8 fetuses on embryonic day 16.5 and 8 adults on postnatal days 56-60. Results: In contrast to large amounts of steroids in adult testes (P <.0002), all testicular levels per weight unit of protein were significantly increased in fetal testes (P <.002, except 6β-hydroxytestosterone of P =.065). Both 11β-hydroxyandrostenedione and 7α-hydroxytestosterone were only measurable in fetal testes, and metabolic ratios of testosterone to androstenediol and androstenedione were also increased in fetal testes (P <.05 for both). Discussion and conclusion: Testicular steroid signatures showed that both steroidogenic Δ4 and Δ5 pathways in the production of testosterone were activated more during prenatal development. Both 7α- and 11β-hydroxylations were predominant, while hydroxylations at C-6, C-15, and C-16 of testosterone and androstenedione were decreased in the fetus. The present GC-MS-based steroid profiling may facilitate understanding of the development of testicular steroidogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-406
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) Institutional Program (Project No. 2E30480) and the KIST DARPA project (Project No. 2V07170).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Society of Andrology and European Academy of Andrology


  • GC-MS
  • androgen
  • mouse testis
  • steroid profiling
  • testosterone biosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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