This stimulates production of cyclic AMP (cAMP) an intracellular messenger that induces intracellular changes to promote transport of cholesterol to the mitochondria where it is converted to pregnenolone by an enzyme known as desmolase
. Pregnenolone is the rate-limiting precursor for testosterone and other steroid hormones.
cholesterol, the precursor for all steroid hormones, is converted first into 20 [alpha]-hydroxycholesterol by 20 [alpha]-hydroxylase and then into pregnenolone by desmolase
. Pregnenolone can enter various biochemical pathways, resulting in the synthesis of mineralocorticoids (e.g., aldosterone), glucocorticoids (e.g., cortisol), androgens (e.g., testosterone), and estrogens (e.g., estradiol-17[beta]).