Steroids: classification, neurosteroids, anabolic steroids

Steroids are derived from the word sterol, which means ‘sterol-like.’ Cholesterol is the most abundant sterol produced by the body. Steroids, which comprise different hormones and vitamins, are endogenous or synthesized derivatives of sterol. Sterols are molecules that contain the ‘-OH’ functional group and are most likely lipids in origin. They serve various physiological functions of the body. they can be broadly classified under following categories: –

Corticosteroids

they are hormones produced by the adrenal cortex and are necessary for various critical functions in the body. Hydrocortisone is the major endogenous glucocorticoid, whereas aldosterone is the major endogenous mineralocorticoid. Read details…

Neurosteroids

Neurosteroids are neuroactive steroids that are produced in neuronal tissue. Numerous major steroidogenic enzymes that are distributed throughout the vertebrate brain synthesize neurosteroids de novo from cholesterol or from circulating hormones. They employ non-genomic mechanisms to control neuronal excitability. Neurosteroids are divided into three subtypes based on their structural characteristics:

• pregnane neurosteroids like allopregnanolone

• androstane neurosteroids like androstanediol

• sulfated neurosteroids like DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone)

Neurosteroids can influence a variety of biological functions in the CNS through modulation of nuclear hormone receptors or membrane receptor activity. Neurosteroids allosterically modulate GABA-A receptor complexes, glutamate receptors (e.g., NMDA, AMPA, and KA), Acetylcholine (ACh) receptors (nicotinic and muscarinic), as well as sigma and glycine receptors. These molecules can influence a number of neurophysiological and behavioural processes such as cognition, stress, sleep and arousal. Although neurosteroids are not currently utilized in clinical practice, there is evidence that they may be useful in the treatment of mental diseases such as cognitive deficits, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and mood disorders.

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Gonadal steroids

Endogenous androgenic steroids are estradiol and progesterone. Sex steroids includes estrogen/progesterone in females, and testosterone (in males) specifically. cholesterol (the precursors of all steroids) transport into the mitochondria of cells, where androgen precursors are produced. By influence of FSH, granulosa cells convert androgen precursors to estrogens. Theca cells of the ovary produce testosterone and estradiol from androstenedione and estrone, respectively. However, in the liver, there is conversion of circulating estradiol to estrone, and both of these are then converted to estriol. All three of these estrogens, as well as their glucuronide and sulphate conjugates, are eliminated in the urine.

Anabolic steroids

These are synthetic androgens with a higher anabolic and lower androgenic action, according to the designer. Drugs are Nandrolone, Oxymetholone, Stanozolol and Methandienone. Anabolic steroids were created in order to avoid the virilizing effects of androgens while maintaining anabolic benefits like muscle mass building. These drugs, however, have the same detrimental impact profile. The anabolic effects are similar to those of testosterone, and they act by the same receptor. The testosterone anabolic: androgenic ratio is considered as 1; These steroids have a relatively high anabolic selectivity, with ratios ranging from 1 to 3. Adult male testes produce 5–12 mg of testosterone per day, a portion of which is converted to the more active dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in extra-glandular tissues by the enzyme steroid 5-reductase.

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