Review article| Volume 24, ISSUE 1, P105-118, March 2004

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Steroid hormones: relevance and measurement in the clinical laboratory

  • Jennifer P. Holst
    Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Georgetown University, 4000 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington, DC 20007, USA
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  • Offie P. Soldin
    Division of Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology, Lombardy Cancer Center, Georgetown University, 3800 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington DC 20007, USA
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  • Tiedong Guo
    Bioanalytical Core Laboratory, Georgetown Clinical Research Center, Georgetown University, 3900 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington DC, 20007, USA
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  • Steven J. Soldin
    Corresponding author. Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20010.
    Bioanalytical Core Laboratory, Georgetown Clinical Research Center, Georgetown University, 3900 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington DC, 20007, USA

    Department of Endocrinology and Pharmacology, Georgetown University, 4000 Resevoir Road, Washington, DC 20007, USA

    Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Childrens National Medical Center, 111 Michigan Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20010, USA
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      The steroid hormones are synthesized in the adrenal cortex, the gonads, and the placenta; are all derived from cholesterol and many are of clinical importance. Steroid hormones are synthesized in the mitochondria and smooth endoplasmic reticulum. Because they are lipophilic, they cannot be stored in vesicles from which they would diffuse easily and are therefore synthesized when needed as precursors. Upon stimulation of the parent cell, steroid hormone precursors are converted to active hormones and diffuse out of the parent cell by simple diffusion as their intracellular concentration rises.
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