Testosterone Propionate also converts to both Estrogen (through Aromatization) and Dihydrotestosterone (through 5a-reduction). Most of the side effects people experience with testosterone use is actually from it’s conversion to these two substrates. Thus, hair loss , water retention, acne, and other side effects are possible with use of this drug. Conversion to these hormones is also responsible for some of testosterone’s ability to build muscle; therefore when many side effects are avoided with the use of ancillary compounds, some of the muscle building properties are also stunted.
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The effects of testosterone in humans and other vertebrates occur by way of two main mechanisms: by activation of the androgen receptor (directly or as DHT), and by conversion to estradiol and activation of certain estrogen receptors. Free testosterone (T) is transported into the cytoplasm of target tissue cells, where it can bind to the androgen receptor, or can be reduced to 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) by the cytoplasmic enzyme 5α-reductase. DHT binds to the same androgen receptor even more strongly than T, so that its androgenic potency is about times that of T. The T-receptor or DHT-receptor complex undergoes a structural change that allows it to move into the cell nucleus and bind directly to specific nucleotide sequences of the chromosomal DNA. The areas of binding are called hormone response elements (HREs), and influence transcriptional activity of certain genes, producing the androgen effects.