What are intracellular receptors?

These are used specifically by the steroid hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, testosterone, oestrogens and progestogens. Steroid hormones are lipid soluble, therefore they diffuse through the cell membrane and gain direct access to the cell. Inside, they bind to steroid receptors. This forms a hormone-receptor complex. This complex then binds to parts of DNA in the nucleus of the cell called hormone responsive elements. The binding process changes the physical shape of the DNA in the nucleus and means that the pattern of gene expression is altered in that cell.

Steroid receptors

Steroid receptors - click to enlarge