steroid hormone

steroid hormone
   These are fats similar to, and usually synthesized from, cholesterol, starting with Acetyl-CoA, moving through squalene, past lanosterol, into cholesterol, and, in the gonads and adrenal cortex, back to a number of steroid hormones. Nearly all of the classic hormones are proteins or smaller peptides; they don't get inside a cell (the membrane keeps them out); instead, they bind to, and initiate, cell changes from the outside. The exceptions are the thyroxines (from the thyroid) and the steroid hormones. They move into the cell, bind with receptors, and initiate changes in the way a cell regenerates itself or synthesizes new compounds. Because the steroid hormones stimulate cell growth, either by changing the internal structure or increasing the rate of proliferation, they are often called anabolic steroids. Estrogen, an ovarian steroid, when secreted into the bloodstream, will be bound within a short time by internal receptors inside those cells that need estrogen for their growth; the unused portion is partially broken down, mostly in the liver, and partially stored in a less active form by adipose tissue. Since luteinizing hormone from the pituitary is surged in pulses an hour apart, the estrogen is also surged from the reacting ovaries, and by the time more estrogen is available, the binding cells need more; their program of synthesis has run out and needs to be started again. Of course, most steroid hormone reactions are less measured than this, but you get the idea.

Herbal-medical glossary. 2015.

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