Sex steroids, also known as gonadal steroids, are steroid hormones that interact with vertebrate androgen or estrogen receptors. Their effects are mediated by slow genomic mechanisms through nuclear receptors as well as by fast nongenomic mechanisms through membrane-associated receptors and signaling cascades. The term sex hormone is nearly always synonymous with sex steroid.
Synthetic sex steroids
There are also many synthetic sex steroids. Synthetic androgens are often referred to as anabolic steroids. Synthetic estrogens and progestins are used in methods of hormonal contraception. Ethinylestradiol is a semi-synthetic estrogen. Specific compounds that have partial agonist activity for steroid receptors, and therefore act in part like natural steroid hormones, are in use in medical conditions that require treatment with steroid in one cell type, but where systemic effects of the particular steroid in the entire organism are only desirable within certain limits.
In many contexts, the two main classes of sex steroids are androgens and estrogens, of which the most important human derivatives are testosterone and estradiol, respectively. Other contexts will include progestagen as a third class of sex steroids, distinct from androgens and estrogens. Progesterone is the most important and only naturally-occurring human progestagen. In general, androgens are considered "male sex hormones", since they have masculinizing effects, while estrogens and progestagens are considered "female sex hormones" although all types are present in each gender, albeit at different levels.
Sex steroids include:
- Guerriero G. Vertebrate sex steroid receptors: evolution, ligands, and neurodistribution. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009 April; 1163:154-68. Review. PMID: 19456336
- Thakur MK, Paramanik V. Role of steroid hormone coregulators in health and disease. Horm Res. 2009; 71(4):194-200. Epub 2009 March 4. Review. PMID: 19258710
- Brook CG. Mechanism of puberty. Horm Res. 1999;51 Suppl 3:52-4. Review. PMID: 10592444
- Copland JA, Sheffield-Moore M, Koldzic-Zivanovic N, Gentry S, Lamprou G, Tzortzatou-Stathopoulou F, Zoumpourlis V, Urban RJ, Vlahopoulos SA. Sex steroid receptors in skeletal differentiation and epithelial neoplasia: is tissue-specific intervention possible? Bioessays. 2009 Jun;31(6):629-41. Review. PMID: 19382224
- Comparative metabolism of female sex steroids in normal and chronically inflamed gingiva of the dog T. M. A. ElAttar11Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A. and Department of Periodontology, The Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education, JÃ¶nkÃ¶ping, Sweden and A. Hugoson, Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A. and Department of Periodontology, The Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education, JÃ¶nkÃ¶ping, Sweden, Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A. and Department of Periodontology, The Institute for Postgraduate Dental Education, JÃ¶nkÃ¶ping, Sweden
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