Steroid hormones act by binding to receptors that are located where

Michael A. Ball, DVM, completed an internship in medicine and surgery and an internship in anesthesia at the University of Georgia in 1994, a residency in internal medicine, and graduate work in pharmacology at Cornell University in 1997, and was on staff at Cornell before starting Early Winter Equine Medicine & Surgery located in Ithaca, . He is also an FEI veterinarian and works internationally with the United States Equestrian Team. Ball authored Understanding The Equine Eye , Understanding Basic Horse Care , and Understanding Equine First Aid , published by Eclipse Press and available at or by calling 800/582-5604.

Because steroids are lipophilic, they diffuse easily through the cell membranes, and therefore have a very large distribution volume. In their target tissues, steroids are concentrated by an uptake mechanism which relies on their binding to intracellular proteins (or " receptors ", see below). High concentration of steroids are also found in adipose tissue, although this is not a target for hormone action. In the human male, adipose tissue contains aromatase activity, and seems to be the main source of androgen-derived estrogens found in the circulation. But most of the peripheral metabolism occurs in the liver and to some extent in the kidneys, which are the major sites of hormone inactivation and elimination, or catabolism (see below).

Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.

All bets are off the table when high-dose testosterone and its many metabolites are used illegally, such as with anabolic steroid abuse. Strokes, embolisms, and cardiovascular disease are all more likely, as is sudden death, and liver and kidney disease. 44 In women, acne, irreversible deepening of the voice, baldness, increased facial hair, enlarged sex organs, breast reduction, depression, and infertility have all been reported. In adult men that abuse anabolic steroids, acne, baldness, permanent infertility, gynecomastia, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, testicle shrinkage, and profuse sweating are all reported side effects. Increased testicular cancer hasn't been reported, though. 45,46

Transdermal patches (adhesive patches placed on the skin) may also be used to deliver a steady dose through the skin and into the bloodstream. Testosterone-containing creams and gels that are applied daily to the skin are also available, but absorption is inefficient (roughly 10%, varying between individuals) and these treatments tend to be more expensive. Individuals who are especially physically active and/or bathe often may not be good candidates, since the medication can be washed off and may take up to six hours to be fully absorbed. There is also the risk that an intimate partner or child may come in contact with the application site and inadvertently dose himself or herself; children and women are highly sensitive to testosterone and can suffer unintended masculinization and health effects, even from small doses. Injection is the most common method used by individuals administering AAS for non-medical purposes. [45]

Steroid hormones act by binding to receptors that are located where

steroid hormones act by binding to receptors that are located where

All bets are off the table when high-dose testosterone and its many metabolites are used illegally, such as with anabolic steroid abuse. Strokes, embolisms, and cardiovascular disease are all more likely, as is sudden death, and liver and kidney disease. 44 In women, acne, irreversible deepening of the voice, baldness, increased facial hair, enlarged sex organs, breast reduction, depression, and infertility have all been reported. In adult men that abuse anabolic steroids, acne, baldness, permanent infertility, gynecomastia, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, testicle shrinkage, and profuse sweating are all reported side effects. Increased testicular cancer hasn't been reported, though. 45,46

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