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Steroid Hormone Definition
What Are Steroid Hormones?

A group of structurally related hormones, based on the cholesterol molecule. They control sex and growth characteristics, are highly lipophilic and are unique in that their receptors are in the nucleus, rather than on the plasma membrane. Steroid hormones are crucial substances for the proper function of the body. They mediate a wide variety of vital physiological functions ranging from anti-inflammatory agents to regulating events during pregnancy. They are synthesized and secreted into the bloodstream by endocrine glands such as the adrenal cortex and the gonads (ovary and testis). Steroid hormones are all characterized by the steroid nucleus which is composed of three six member rings and one five member ring, ingeniously labeled A, B, C, and D respectively. Five classes of steroid hormones are androgens, estrogens, progestins, mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. They play a major role in secondary sexual characters also.

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