Steroid vs. Non-Steroid Hormones

Steroid vs. Non-Steroid Hormones

Author: Aaron Mullally

This lesson will differentiate between the two basic categories of hormones and their functions.

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  • Steroid Hormones

    Hormones that have a cholesterol backbone and are not soluble in water due to their lipid structure; steroid hormones are transported through the blood attached to carrier proteins. Steroid hormones penetrate the cell membrane and interact with nuclear receptors that affect DNA transcription.

  • Non-steroid Hormones

    A class of hormones that are primarily derived from proteins and are water soluble due to their polar nature; steroid hormones are transported freely through the blood. Non-steroid hormones interact with receptors on the cell membrane and activate secondary messenger systems that carry out their effects within the cell.

  • Secondary Messenger

    A group of signaling molecules located near a hormone receptor on the inside of the cell; when a non-steroid hormone binds to its receptor it activates secondary messenger systems that carry out specific effects inside of the cell. Non-steroid hormones rely on secondary messenger signaling molecules because they are unable to penetrate the cell membrane and get into the cell.