The fungus Aspergillus tamarii metabolizes progesterone to testololactone in high yield through a sequential four step enzymatic pathway which, has demonstrated flexibility in handling a range of steroidal probes. These substrates have revealed that subtle changes in the molecular structure of the steroid lead to significant changes in route of metabolism. It was therefore of interest to determine the metabolism of a range of 5-ene containing steroidal substrates. Remarkably the primary route of 5-ene steroid metabolism involved a 3beta-hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase/Delta(5)-Delta(4) isomerase (3beta-HSD/isomerase) enzyme(s), generating 3-one-4-ene functionality and identified for the first time in a fungus with the ability to handle both dehydroepiansdrosterone (DHEA) as well as C-17 side-chain containing compounds such as pregnenolone and 3beta-hydroxy-16alpha,17alpha-epoxypregn-5-en-20-one. Uniquely in all the steroids tested, 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity only occurred following lactonization of the steroidal ring-D. Presence of C-7 allylic hydroxylation, in either epimeric form, inhibited 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity and of the substrates tested, was only observed with DHEA and its 13alpha-methyl analogue. In contrast to previous studies of fungi with 3beta-HSD/isomerase activity DHEA could also enter a minor hydroxylation pathway. Pregnenolone and 3beta-hydroxy-16alpha,17alpha-epoxypregn-5-en-20-one were metabolized solely through the putative 3beta-HSD/isomerase pathway, indicating that a 17beta-methyl ketone functionality inhibits allylic oxidation at C-7. The presence of the 3beta-HSD/isomerase in A. tamarii and the transformation results obtained in this study highlight an important potential role that fungi may have in the generation of environmental androgens.
When tested in vitro , 7-keto appears to activate the beta subset of the estrogen receptor (ERβ) with an EC 50 around 500μM which is partially blocked by exemestane (aromatase inhibitor or AI); there was no apparent activity on the classical subset (ERα) and parent DHEA and DHEAS were eqipotent.  As activity was hindered with an AI and there was efficacy in HepG2 cells but not Hep293 (expressing  and not expressing  aromatase, respectively) it is though that 7-oxo can be metabolized into an estrogen. 
The fetal adrenal cortex lacks expression of the enzyme early on, thus mineralocorticoids (. aldosterone ) and glucocorticoids (. cortisol ) cannot be synthesized. This is significant because cortisol induces type II pneumocytes of the lungs to synthesize and secrete pulmonary surfactant ; without pulmonary surfactant to reduce the alveolar surface tension , premature neonates may die of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome . If delivery is unavoidable (. because of placental abruption , or pre-eclampsia / HELLP syndrome ), then glucocorticoids (. cortisol) can be administered.