Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Genetics in Medicine - Part 2 » Hormonal Regulation - Hormone Receptors, Nuclear Receptors And Their Hormones, Nuclear Hormone Receptors And Transcriptional Regulation, The Importance Of Hormone Concentration

Hormonal Regulation - The Importance Of Hormone Concentration

physiological receptors science nuclear activity

Because the hormones that act through nuclear hormone receptors are nearly all fat-soluble, they are readily absorbed into the body, freely transported, and stored and accumulated in fatty tissues. Steroids, retinoic acid, thyroid hormone, and vitamin D3 are active at extremely low concentrations, ranging from about 0.3 to 30 parts per billion, with 3 parts per billion considered a physiological concentration for retinoic acid and many steroids. Since the hormones are present and act at such low concentrations, it is critical that their levels be precisely regulated. Consequently, hormone synthesis and degradation is regulated by the activity of specific biosynthetic and catabolic enzymes.

It should also be noted that some chemicals in the environment and natural compounds found in the diet can affect the activity of hormone receptors, particularly the estrogen receptor. Such interaction can potentially lead to disturbances in hormone homeostasis and inappropriate regulation of target genes. These xenobiotic "endocrine disrupting chemicals" have the potential to impact many body systems by inappropriately activating or interfering with the activity of hormone receptors. As a result, endocrine disruption is a growing concern that is being studied intensively in many laboratories around the world.

Bruce Blumberg


Chawla, A., et al. "Nuclear Receptors and Lipid Physiology: Opening the X Files." Science 294 (2001): 1866-1870.

Evans, R. M. "The Steroid and Thyroid Hormone Receptor Superfamily." Science 240 (1988): 889-895.

Kliewer, S. A., J. M. Lehmann, and T. M. Willson. "Orphan Nuclear Receptors: Shifting Endocrinology into Reverse." Science 284 (1999): 757-760.

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