steroids (endocrinological information)

Last reviewed 07/2021

The steroids are a group of compounds which have the following features in common:

  • a backbone structure of a steroid nucleus consisting of:
    • 3 six-membered carbon rings
    • 1 five-membered carbon ring
  • solubility in organic solvents, insoluble in inorganic solvents
  • widespread use as hormones

Steroids may be natural or synthetic. Natural steroids include:

  • corticosteroids
  • sex hormones
  • bile salts
  • sterols
  • some vitamin-derivatives e.g. calcitriol

Steroids have powerful actions on all body cells ranging from control of growth and fertility to determination of sex.