This is a report of studies on the pyrogenic action of a series of steroid metabolites in man. The chemical prototype for this form of biological activity is the hormonal derivative, 3α-hydroxyetiocholane-17-one. This compound, whose capacity to provoke fever in humans was first reported in 1956,1-3 represents the first pure substance of known chemical structure and of physiologic origin having consistent pyrogenic action in man. The present studies indicate that this thermogenic activity extends to a number of steroid metabolites derived from adrenocortical and gonadal hormones. Certain aspects of the structural basis of this action are described and the effects of in vivo metabolic transformations on the fever-producing activity of these hormone derivatives are noted.
The following steroids were tested for pyrogenic activity in man: 3α-hydroxyetiocholane-17-one; etiocholane - 3,17 - dione; 3α - acetoxyetiocholane -17-one; 3α,11β-dihydroxyetiocholane-17-one; 3α-hy-droxypregnane-20-one; 3α-acetoxypregnane-20-one; pregnane-3,20-dione; pregnane-3a,20a-diol; 21-hy-droxypregnane-3,20-dione; 3α-hydroxypregnane-11, 20-dione; 3α,17α-dihydroxypregnane-20-one; and 3α, 17α,21 -trihydroxypregnane-11,20-dione. Steroids