Neuroactive steroids are also called as neurosteroids . They are endogenous steroids that rapidly alter neuronal excitability through interaction with ligand-gated ion channels and other cell surface receptors. Neuroactive steroid refers to steroids that are synthesized by an endocrine gland that reach the brain through the bloodstream and have effects on brain function. Neurosteroids have a wide range of potential clinical applications from sedation to treatment of epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. Ganaxolone is a synthetic analog of the endogenous neurosteroid. Allopregnanolone is under investigation for the treatment of epilepsy.
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Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.