Medical Applications of Steroid Compounds

Steroidal compounds are important organic compounds based on the fundamental saturated tetracyclic hydrocarbon: 1,2-cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. The types of nature organic compounds found in plants are termed plant steroids. Steroids are widely found in animals and plants and have various biological properties.


Classification of steroids

Steroid compounds are a group of natural chemical compounds that are widely found in nature, including phytosterols, bile acids, C21 steroids, insect moulting hormones, cardiac glycosides, and steroidal alkaloids. Cholesterol is the earliest found steroid compound. Gallstones are almost entirely composed of cholesterol. Cholesterol is mainly found in animal blood, fat, brain and nerve tissue. Many animal hormones are sterols, such as progesterone in sex hormones, testosterone, estradiol, and corticosteroids in adrenal hormones.


Structure of steroids

Steroids are a large group of compounds found in plants and animals. Many of steroid compounds such as vitamins, sex hormones, and adrenocortical hormones have important physiological functions. They have one thing in common in structure, that is, they all have the basic skeleton structure of cyclopentane polyhydrophenanthrene. In addition, there are usually two corner methyl groups (C-10, C-13) on the cyclopentane polyhydrogen nucleoside and with a side chain containing a different number of carbon atoms or an oxygen-containing group such as a hydroxyl group.


Medical Applications of steroids

Steroid compounds are widely used in medicine, such as hydrocortisone for the treatment of allergic diseases, progesterone for contraception, and spironolactone for diuresis treatment. In particular, steroid hormone drugs including adrenocortical hormones and sex hormones are important clinical drugs. Some steroid drugs have strong pharmacological effects against HIV and cancer cells. Steroids are indispensable and important compounds for the growth and development of life. Especially the adrenal cortex hormones, it is an essential hormone to maintain life. Clinically, steroids are good medicines that can indeed be widely used in the treatment of many intractable diseases such as cancer, cerebral edema, chronic lung disease, rheumatism, asthma, immature lungs in preterm infants , skin disease, shock, septicemia, and meningitis. It does temporarily relieve the symptoms, so inevitably some medical personnel abuse it to treat other diseases. However, there are many side effects of steroid abuse, including stomach bleeding, infections, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, growth retardation, edema, increased acne and so on.


In recent years, the scope of application of steroid compounds in the medical field has been expanding. They have been widely used in the field of fertility control and treatment of rheumatism, cardiovascular disease, human organ transplantation, skin diseases, acne, and senile diseases. In addition, some steroid hormones are also used to promote the growth of livestock and plants. Now, steroid drugs have become the second largest category of drugs in the world after antibiotics.

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