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Table 1 Major steroids and their physiological functions

From: Cellular cholesterol delivery, intracellular processing and utilization for biosynthesis of steroid hormones

Steroidogenic Tissues Trophic Hormone Steroids(s) Physiological Functions
Ovary    
Granulosa cells FSH Estradiol Estrogen, a principal female sex steroid, required for growth and ovulation, responsible for secondary female sex characteristics, regulator of cardiovascular physiology, bone integrity and neuronal growth
Luteinized Granulosa/luteal Cells LH Progesterone A progestin, required for follicular growth and ovulation, responsible for changes associated with luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, essential for the establishment and maintenance of early pregnancy
Theca-interstitial Cells LH Testosterone Androstenedione Androgens, precursors for estrogens, transported into granulosa cells, where they are converted into estardiol and other estrogens by aromatase (CYP19A1) enzyme
Testis    
Leydig cells LH Testosterone The most prevalent male sex hormone (androgen); testosterone and its biologically active form, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) are necessary for normal spermatogenesis and development, responsible for secondary sex characteristics, responsible for increased muscle mass, sexual function, body hair and decreased risk of osteoporosis
Adrenal gland    
Z. glomerulosa Cells ACTH, K+ Angiotensin II Aldosterone The principal mineralocorticoid, raises blood pressure and fluid volume, enhances sodium reabsorption in the kidney, sweat gland, stomach and salivary gland and also enhances excretion of potassium and hydrogen ions from the kidney.
Z. glomerulosa Cells ACTH Cortisol The dominant glucocorticoid in humans (in rodents, the major glucocorticoid is corticosterone), elevates blood pressure and Na+ uptake, involved in stress adaptation, regulates carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism nearly opposite to that of insulin, influences inflammatory reactions and numerous effects on the immune system.
Z. reticularis Cells ACTH POC-derived peptide Other factors Androstenedione DHEA DHEA-sulfate The function of adrenal androgens is not well understood, except that they contribute to the maintenance of secondary sex characteristics, may also be involved in the regulation of bone mineral density, muscle mass and may beneficial actions against type 2 diabetes and obesity
Placenta Peptide growth Factors, cAMP Progesterone Estrogens Maintenance of pregnancy
Brain    
Neurons, Glial cells Purkinje cells Neurotransmitters Neuropeptides Progesterone Estradiol, DHEA, ALLO, THDOC Neurosteroids are implicated in various processes such as proliferation, differentiation, activity and survival of nerve cells and a variety of neuronal functions including control and behavior, neuroendocrine and metabolic processes.