Modern biochemistry has led to rapid methods for the isolation and purification of hormones and determination of their structure. In vivo and in vitro bioassays, immunoassays, and radioreceptor assays are used to determine structure-function relationships and to define the segments of the hormones that are important for binding to receptors and exertion of biologic activity. This knowledge has been essential for the development of structural analogues of hormones that may serve as agonists or antagonists. In addition, recombinant DNA technology has allowed several pharmaceutical companies to develop virtually unlimited supplies of hormones of biologic significance to humans, thus ushering in a new era of hormone replacement therapy. In light of these developments and the exponential growth of information concerning endocrine physiology and pathophysiology, the time is ripe for a textbook devoted to endocrine pharmacology.
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