Special Issue "Steroid Hormones and Human Health"
A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2019)
Prof. Dr. Emad Al-Dujaili
Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Queen's Medical Research Institute, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, Scotland, UK
Interests: nutrition; stress; exercise; polyphenols and steroid hormones
Steroid hormones are small lipophilic compounds derived from cholesterol that play a number of vital and important physiological roles. They are usually found in the body, either in a conjugated form as sulfate or glucuronide derivatives, or bound to proteins. Steroid hormones are synthesized mainly by endocrine glands such as the gonads (testis and ovary), the adrenals (glucocorticoids, mineralocrticoids and androgen precursors) and placenta during gestation. The CNS is also able to make a number of biologically active steroids called "neurosteroids", which are responsible for key CNS pathways involved in the long-term control of sympathetic and neuro-endocrine function, cardiovascular homeostasis and several other physiological functions. The biological activity of a steroid molecule depends on its ability to interact with a specific binding site on the corresponding receptor. Steroid hormones help control metabolism, inflammation, immune functions, salt and water balance, development of sexual characteristics, and the ability to withstand illness and injury.
Different classes of steroid hormones regulate and coordinate biochemical, physiological and behavioural responses of various biological activities, e.g., Glucocorticoids with their known effects on carbohydrate, lipid and protein metabolism (obesity, metabolic syndrome, etc.) stress response and the immune system, Sex steroids and their effects on reproduction and human behaviour. Vit D as a steroid hormone was proved to be essential for good health due to its multipotent physiological and biochemical actions throughout the body. The androgen precursor, Dehydroepiandrosterone is one of the most abundant steroid hormones in the human body that possesses multiple actions which need to be fully investigated. DHEA has been linked to improvement in cognitive function, immune system strengthening and providing an antagonistic action towards the stress hormone, cortisol. Bioactive androgens (11b-OH-testosterone, oxotestosterone and OH-androsterone) are discovered to have potential physiological importance in humans. In fact, Steroids can act as coregulators and coactivators in health and disease. Metabolism plays an important role in steroid hormone action and formation of active metabolites in target tissues is important for the regulation of their cellular and physiological actions (many disorders result from defects in target tissue metabolism). Several enzymes are involved in steroid biosynthesis and thus a number of endocrine disorders can be attributed to specific enzyme defects.
Nutrition can be used to treat several disorders, for example, stress by reducing cortisol levels, while the B vitamins can stimulate fatigued adrenal glands. "A nutritious diet filled with antioxidants from brightly coloured fruits and vegetables can also support immune health which may be well appreciated when stressed”. Several studies have investigated whether the type of macronutrient influences the postprandial response of cortisol. Research and clinical studies have now associated plant-based diet intake with various beneficial health and biological activities. Functional nutrients have become essential not only for energy production and body matter of classic metabolism, but also a conditioning environment that modulates the epigenome activity and influences stress adaptive responses, energy metabolism, immune homeostasis, and disease prevention. We have reported that polyphenols in pomegranate and green coffee can inhibit 11B-HSD1 activity, thereby improving mood and reducing stress by causing a slight reduction in blood pressure and the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Therefore, polyphenols-rich diet may exert its health beneficial effects through multiple mode of actions affecting various cellular pathways, and most likely, steroid hormones modulation represents an important factor.
- Nutritional regulation of steroid hormones metabolism/action
- Physiological importance of bioactive androgens
- Sex steroids and behaviour
- Role of vitamin D in human health
- Steroid hormones, cognitive function and healthy ageing
- Steroid hormones in dairy foods and impact on public health
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- Steroid hormones