preandrogens(prē-ăn′drŭ-jĕn) [″ + ″]
Any biochemical precursors to male hormones. In women with polycystic ovaries, elevated levels of preandrogens such as androstenedione and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are found in the bloodstream. These steroid hormones are synthesized in the adrenal glands; DHEA, DHEA sulfate, and androstenedione are converted in target tissues (such as the prostate gland) into dihydrotestosterone, which produces masculinizing characteristics and stimulates the growth of prostate cancers. Preandrogen levels fall as people age. Decreases in preandrogens cause some of the symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.