Hormones are chemical messengers (steroids, prostaglan-dins, and protein/peptides) involved in cellular signaling from point A to B within a physiological system (endocrine, paracrine, autocrine, and/or intracrine communication). To date, numerous hormones, including steroid hormones, have been characterized biochemically. Steroids are required for a plethora of mammalian biological functions, ranging from organogenesis during development to the regulation of metabolic pathways and the proliferation of reproductive/mammary tissues. Steroids consist of six classes progestins, estrogens, androgens, mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and vitamin D. This article focuses on the structure, synthesis, and physiological mechanism of action of steroids.
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