Recent Steroid Research

To enable their functions, drugs and hormones require certain mode of transport to be able to reach various parts of the body. In the field medicine, the so-called synthetic hosts were developed specifically for such function. Synthetic hosts work by taking in the active substances before their transport. These artificially made materials also work well in steroids because of the utilization of ring-shaped glucose molecules.

At present, researchers from KIT and Jacobs University Bremen, found out about a new group of host molecules, which are known as barrel-shaped cucurbiturils. These molecules greatly aid in easing the transport of insoluble steroids, including cortisone or estradiol. Cucurbiturils also showed high affinity to steroids, and such property will be beneficial in the field of medicine, especially in the transport of drug, such as cyclodextrines.

Cyclodextrine, a large molecule with ring-shaped glucose, can be easily accommodated by the newly discovered substance hosts because of their flexible shape. However, it is also tends to collapse more easily compared with other compounds. To achieve the necessary waters solubility needed for the transport of this compound, the active component should be increased in concentration and transporter medium should also be present. As a result, this may lead to side effects that are attributed to the drug involving cyclodextrine. Moreover, cyclodextrines are more attracted to molecules with thinner chains. Examples of molecules with thinner chains are cholesterols which do not really play any important role as active substances.

After studies involving testosterone and estradiol, cortisol (an inflammatory inhibitor), a pancuronium and vercuronium (which are muscle relaxants), results showed that steroid cucurbiturils work more stable and greatly enhances water solubility of host molecules. These compounds remain stable in blood serum and gastric acid, and by serving as deposit of active substances, steroids get released in a slow but stable manner. These new molecules is suitable for use in the human body and can be used at a lower dose and with specificity for certain molecules. In return, drugs that are based on steroids become more effective, and their side effects are minimized as well. Economically, the cost of delivering drugs to the body is reduced as well.

Cucubiturils have various potential applications that scientists want to achieve in the near future. For instance, based on the properties of the molecules, researchers can be developed steroid substances that work more efficiently in the human body system. Aside from the field of medicine, these new molecules may have potential biological applications as well. When used with certain dye indicators, they can be used to monitor in real time the interactions of steroids and enzymes and their mechanisms inside the body. At present, researchers from KIT are developing a new research which will focused on developing ways of using cucurbiturils. Specifically, the researchers want to know whether cucurbiturils also have immobilization abilities toward steroid molecules.