Steroid-binding proteins unrelated to the classical nuclear receptors have been proposed to play a role in non-genomic actions of the17alpha-alkylated testosterone derivative (17alpha-AA) stanozolol (ST). We have previously reported that male rat liver endoplasmic reticulum contains two steroid-binding sites associated with high molecular mass oligomeric proteins: (1) the ST-binding protein (STBP); and (2) the low-affinity glucocorticoid-binding protein (LAGS). To further explore the role of LAGS on the mechanism of action of ST, we have now studied: (1) the interaction of ST and its hydroxylated metabolites with solubilized LAGS and the cytosolic glucocorticoid receptor (GR); and (2) the effects of hormones on the capability of STBP to bind ST. We found that, unlike 17alpha-methyltestosterone, neither ST nor its hydroxylated metabolites bind to GR. However, the 16beta-hydroxylation of ST significantly increases the capability of LAGS to bind ST. Interestingly, 3'-hydroxylation of ST abrogates the capability of LAGS to bind ST. ST (k(i)=30 nM) and 16beta-hydroxystanozolol (k(i)=13 nM) bind with high affinity to LAGS, and are capable of accelerating the rate of dissociation of previously bound dexamethasone from the LAGS. STBP and LAGS are strongly induced by ethinylestradiol. However, unlike STBP, LAGS is regulated by thyroid hormones and growth hormone, which proves that these steroid-binding activities are associated with different binding sites. These findings seem to suggest a novel mechanism for ST whereby membrane-associated glucocorticoid-binding activity is targeted by the 16beta-hydroxylated metabolite of ST. ST and its 16beta-hydroxylated metabolite modulate glucocorticoid activity in the liver through negative allosteric modulation of LAGS, with the result of this interaction an effective increase in classical GR-signaling by increasing glucocorticoid availability to the cytosolic GR.