PREGNENOLONE (△5-pregnen-3 β-ol-20-one, melting point 190C.) was first obtained synthetically from stigmasterol by oxidation of the C20 side chain1 and subsequently from cholesterol by the same method.2 It has been isolated in small amounts from hog testes,3 but its isolation from human sources has not been reported.
Its relation to the physiologically important steroids in chemical structure and in pharmacologic properties has given rise to speculations about its possible role in the human organism as an intermediate substance in the synthesis and metabolism of these steroids.4 While chemically it can be regarded as a direct oxidation product of cholesterol, it can, in turn, be transformed to dehydroisoandrosterone by oxidation at C17, to progesterone by oxidation at C3 and to desoxycorticosterone by oxidation at both C3 and C21 (fig. 1).5
The resting adrenal cortex is rich in cholesterol esters, which are depleted when the experimental animal is
DAVISON R, KOETS P, SNOW WG, GABRIELSON LG. EFFECTS OF DELTA 5 PREGNENOLONE IN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1950;85(3):365–388. doi:10.1001/archinte.1950.00230090002001
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