The open reading frames of human sex steroid hormone receptors (hSSHRs) are composed of eight exons. In addition, the presence of various exons - including 5'-untranslated exons, alternative coding exons and novel 'intronic' exons - has been demonstrated in the genes encoding hSSHRs. The isoform/variant hSSHR mRNAs generated from thes e exons can be tentatively classified into seven types. In type 1, different mRNAs are generated with the use of alternative transcription start sites. In type 2, one or more exons are skipped. In type 3, one or more exons are duplicated. In type 4, distinct mRNAs containing different 5'-untranslated exon(s) are synthesized. In type 5, distinct mRNAs possessing different coding exon(s) are generated. In type 6, mRNA is synthesized by intronic exons and coding exons 4/5-8. In type 7, mRNA with insertion of intronic exon(s) is generated. Here, we review the isoform/variant hSSHR mRNAs and the structure of the genes encoding them.