CONTEXT: CYP3A7, expressed in the human fetal liver and normally silenced after birth, plays a major role in the 16alpha-hydroxylation of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulfate (DHEAS), and estrone. Due to a replacement of part of the CYP3A7 promoter with a sequence identical with the same region in the CYP3A4 promoter (referred to as CYP3A7*1C), some individuals still express a variant of the CYP3A7 gene later in life. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine the effect of the CYP3A7*1C polymorphism on serum steroid hormone levels. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Two population-based cohort studies were performed. Study group 1 consisted of 208 subjects randomly selected from the Rotterdam Study, and study group 2 consisted of 345 elderly independently living men. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Serum DHEA(S), androstenedione, estradiol, estrone, and testosterone levels were the main outcome measures. RESULTS: In study groups 1 and 2, heterozygous CYP3A7*1C carriers had almost 50% lower DHEAS levels compared with homozygous carriers of the reference allele [study group 1, 1.74 +/- 0.25 vs. 3.33 +/- 0.15 micromol/liter (P = 0.02); study group 2, 2.09 +/- 0.08 vs. 1.08 +/- 0.12 micromol/liter (P < 0.001)]. No differences in circulating DHEA, androstenedione, estradiol, or testosterone levels were found. However, in study group 2, serum estrone levels were lower in heterozygous CYP3A7*1C carriers compared with homozygous carriers of the reference allele (0.11 +/- 0.002 vs. 0.08 +/- 0.006 nmol/liter; P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: The CYP3A7*1C polymorphism causes the persistence of enzymatic activity of CYP3A7 during adult life, resulting in lower circulating DHEAS and estrone levels.

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Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Smit, P., van Schaik, R., van der Werf, M., van den Beld, A., Koper, J., Lindemans, J., … Lamberts, S. (2005). A common polymorphism in the CYP3A7 gene is associated with a nearly 50% reduction in serum dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate levels. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 90(9), 5313–5316. doi:10.1210/jc.2005-0307