1. Axillary and pubic hair growth during puberty induced by hyperactivity of the adrenal cortex. 2. Physiologic change at puberty caused by adrenocortical secretion of androgenic hormones or precursors of them. [adren- + G. arche, beginning]

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ad·ren·ar·che .ad-rə-'när-kē n an increase in the production of androgens by the adrenal cortex that usu. occurs during the eighth or ninth year of life

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the start of secretion of androgen by the adrenal glands, occurring at around 6-7 years of age in girls and 7-8 in boys. It is usually determined by the measurement of urinary 17-ketosteroids rather than direct assay of the androgens themselves. Adrenal androgens are dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), DHEA sulphate, and androstenedione. The age of adrenarche is unrelated to the age of gonadarche. Premature adrenarche is usually manifested as the early appearance of pubic hair due to levels of the adrenal androgens equivalent to those found in puberty. It does not proceed to full puberty as the gonads do not become active.

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ad·ren·ar·che (ad″rən-ahrґke) [adren- + arche] augmentation of adrenal cortical secretion, involving especially androgens, a physiologic change that occurs at approximately the age of eight years in both sexes.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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