We use scientific terminology, classifications, and nomenclature, every day of our working lives. Often, we don’t pause to consider the layers of meaning behind these words.
What is a steroid?
The term “steroid” is used in connection with many things – corticosteroids, sex steroids, aminosteroids, cholesterol. We hear of illicit “steroids” being taken – what are they? Various “cortisone” containing preparations also come under the same umbrella.
So, what is a steroid? Before reading any further, look this up. You should look up both the chemical structure, and a definition in words.
Having done that, you should now appreciate how a steroid “backbone” can be used as the framework for many different molecules, because a vast array of different side chains can be added to the steroid core.
Which of the following drugs contains a steroid moiety?
Curare was the first neuromuscular blocking agent introduced into clinical use. But it is a benzylisoquinolone. To read a bit about the development of pancuronium, the first aminosteroid used clinically, click Brown_et_al-1997-Anaesthesia. This article should help you appreciate the key structure-activity relationships which were permitted by using a steroid core.
Now that the term “benzylisoquinolone” has been brought up, you are no doubt eagerly wondering what it really means. Apart from the neuromuscular blockers, what other drugs share this basic structure?