Sexual brain organization is dependent on sex hormone and neurotransmitter levels occurring during critical developmental periods. The higher the androgen levels during brain organization, caused by genetic and/or environmental factors, the higher is the biological predisposition to bi- and homosexuality or even transsexualism in females and the lower it is in males. Adrenal androgen excess, leading to heterotypical sexual orientation and/or gender role behavior in genetic females, can be caused by 21-hydroxylase deficiency, especially when associated with prenatal stress. The cortisol (F) precursor 21-deoxycortisol (21-DOF) was found to be significantly increased after ACTH stimulation in homosexual as compared to heterosexual females. 21-DOF was increased significantly before and even highly significantly after ACTH stimulation in female-to-male transsexuals. In view of these data, heterozygous and homozygous forms, respectively, of 21-hydroxylase deficiency represent a genetic predisposition to androgen-dependent development of homosexuality and transsexualism in females. Testicular androgen deficiency in prenatal life, giving rise to heterotypical sexual orientation and/or gender role behavior in genetic males, may be induced by prenatal stress and/or maternal or fetal genetic alterations. Most recently, in mothers of homosexual men — following ACTH stimulation — a significantly increased prevalence of high 21-DOF plasma values and 21-DOF/F ratios was found, which surpassed the mean + 1 SD level of heterosexual control women. In homosexual men as well – following ACTH stimulation – most of the 21-DOF plasma values and 21-DOF/F ratios also surpassed the mean + 1 SD level of heterosexual men. In only one out of 9 homosexual males, neither in his blood nor in that of his mother increased 21-DOF values and 21-DOF/F ratios were found after ACTH stimulation. In this homosexual man, however, the plasma de-hydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) values and the DHEA-S/1000 × A (A = androstenedione) ratio were increased before and after ACTH stimulation. Furthermore, highly significantly increased basal plasma levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were found in male-to-female transsexuals as compared to normal males, suggesting partial 3β-ol hydroxysteroid dehydrogen-ase deficiency to be a predisposing factor for the development of male-to-female transsexualism.
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