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Annu Rev Med. 2015;66:271-80. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-050913-021703.

Extranuclear steroid receptors are essential for steroid hormone actions.

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Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine and the Long Beach VA Medical Center; email:


Steroid hormones are produced throughout the phylogenetic tree, from plants to mammals. In the past 40 years, steroid receptors localized to the nucleus have been recognized as being important to mediating steroid action in many organs. This action mainly arises from the regulation of key genes that are important for organ development and function. These include but are not limited to genes influencing the reproductive tract, mammary glands, bone, brain, fat differentiation, pituitary hormone regulation, and metabolic effects in many organs. Unfortunately, steroids also promote the development of hormone-responsive cancers, including breast, uterus, and prostate cancer. It has also been shown that steroid receptors exist outside the nucleus in many organs and cells, with unclear impact for normal development, health, and disease. This review describes the evidence from many laboratories that these receptors exist and function with nuclear receptors to provide the full impact of all steroid hormones.


cardiac fibrosis; cardiac hypertrophy; estrogen; hormone-responsive cancer; hypertension; membrane; mitochondria

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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