We have also noted that 24-hour urinary estrogens can be a sensitive monitor of liver detoxification capability. Elevated urinary estrogens in normally-cycling women may indicate a history of exposure to liver stresses such as excessive environmental organic chemicals. Interventions intended to improve liver function result in a gradual normalization of the abnormal estrogen levels. Thus, measurement of urinary estrogens can give insight into other aspects of physiology. This phenomenon is also noted in peri- or post-menopausal women who have previously taken Premarin, and have switched to triple-estrogen replacement with less-than-optimal symptom relief.
Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.