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Estradiol is produced by action of aromatase mainly in the Leydig cells of the mammalian testis, but also by some germ cells and the Sertoli cells of immature mammals. Individuals without it (or other estrogens) will become tall and eunuchoid, as epiphyseal closure is delayed or may not take place.
Bone structure is affected also, resulting in early osteopenia and osteoporosis.
The major pathway involves the formation of androstenedione, which is then converted by aromatase into estrone and is subsequently converted into estradiol.
Alternatively, androstenedione can be aromatized into testosterone, which can then be converted into estradiol.
In the luteal phase, estradiol, in conjunction with progesterone, prepares the endometrium for implantation.
During pregnancy, estradiol increases due to placental production.
Estradiol is produced especially within the follicles of the ovaries, but also in other tissues including the testicles, the adrenal glands, fat, liver, the breasts, and the brain.
Estradiol is produced in the body from cholesterol through a series of reactions and intermediates.
The effect of estradiol (and estrogens in general) upon male reproduction is complex.These changes are initiated at the time of puberty, most are enhanced during the reproductive years, and become less pronounced with declining estradiol support after menopause.Thus, estradiol produces breast development, and is responsible for changes in the body shape, affecting bones, joints, and fat deposition.In females, estradiol induces breast development, widening of the hips, a feminine fat distribution (with fat deposited particularly in the breasts, hips, thighs, and buttocks), and maturation of the vagina and vulva, whereas it mediates the pubertal growth spurt (indirectly via increased growth hormone secretion) In the female, estradiol acts as a growth hormone for tissue of the reproductive organs, supporting the lining of the vagina, the cervical glands, the endometrium, and the lining of the fallopian tubes. Estradiol appears necessary to maintain oocytes in the ovary.During the menstrual cycle, estradiol produced by the growing follicles triggers, via a positive feedback system, the hypothalamic-pituitary events that lead to the luteinizing hormone surge, inducing ovulation.