In the animal the steroids are important. The bile acids, the estrogens, the androgens, the adrenal cortical hormones, the cardiac glycosides, cholesterol and the 17 ketosteroids are all lipids. These substances are intimately interrelated, differing primarily in the type and position of their nuclear substituents. After the isolation of cholesterol by Poulletier in 1769 the origin of this substance and its possible position as the precursor of these alicyclic compounds invoked much investigation.
The endogenous nature of cholesterol was demonstrated in 1925.1 These results were confirmed;2 further it was shown that plant sterols, by virtue of their nonabsorbability, do not contribute toward synthesis of cholesterol. Many controversial claims have been made relative to the site of cholesterol formation, with the spleen, adrenals, liver and gonads occupying predominant positions; nevertheless the site of formation of cholesterol is still unknown.
Many studies have been made on the possible precursors of
BIOGENESIS OF THE STEROIDS. JAMA. 1947;134(9):785–786. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880260043014
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