Several moderately active male sex hormones called adrenal androgens (the most important of which is dehydroepiandrosterone) are continually secreted bythe adrenal cortex, especially during fetal life. Also, progesterone and estrogens, which are female sex hormones, are secreted in minute quantities.
Normally, the adrenal androgens have only weak effects in humans. It is possible that part of the early development of the male sex organs results from child-hood secretion of adrenal androgens. The adrenal androgens also exert mild effects in the female, not only before puberty but also throughout life. Much of the growth of the pubic and axillary hair in the female results from the action of these hormones.
In extra-adrenal tissues, some of the adrenal andro-gens are converted to testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, which probably accounts for much of their androgenic activity.
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