Biophysical membrane interactions of steroid hormones: a potential complementary mechanism of steroid action

Clin Neuropharmacol. May-Jun 1998;21(3):181-9.


There is strong evidence to support the hypothesis that the rapid effects of steroids on neurons are membrane-mediated. Rapid steroid effects have been demonstrated in the absence of intracellular receptors, in the presence of RNA or protein synthesis inhibitors, and in response to steroids coupled to large proteins that block access to intracellular receptors. This study selectively reviewed the emerging body of evidence suggesting that steroids have multiple sites of cellular actions, and explored in depth one possible membrane-mediated mechanism of action, the membrane-intercalation model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects*
  • Cholesterol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Bilayers / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Models, Molecular
  • Steroids / pharmacology*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Lipid Bilayers
  • Steroids
  • Cholesterol