Washington, M. Todd Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Last reviewed:April 2019
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- Steroid hormones
- Mechanism of action
- Bile acids
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Any of a subset of biological molecules known as lipids that share a specific, fused four-ring structure comprising three rings of six carbon atoms and one ring of five carbon atoms. Different types of steroids have different chemical modifications to this common ring structure (Fig. 1). Steroids are found in animals, plants, fungi, and protozoa. In mammals, steroids are components of cell membranes, aid in digestion, and act as hormones to control a wide range of physiological responses. Because of their role in governing physiological processes, naturally occurring and synthetic steroids are used extensively in medicine to treat a wide range of conditions. See also: Hormone; Lipid; Medicine
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