The Role of Chemistry in History

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The Future of Testosterone

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Chemistry of Testosterone Discovery and Synthesis Historical Significance

Anabolic Steroids


Steroids in professional sports

-congressional hearings

-asterisks in the record books

-who to blame?

Impact on the youth

-role models

-high school use

Medicinal Use

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Androgen Receptor

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The main function of the androgen receptor is to transcribe DNA into m(essenger)RNA which regulates gene expression. 


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April 25th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Stacking Increases the Likelihood of Acne 


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Steroids Side Effects

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Anabolic Steroids

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Introduction to Testosterone Chemistry of Testosterone Future

Historical Significance Discovery and Synthesis



-Scientists in the 1930s discovered that anabolic steroids could facilitate the growth of skeletal muscle in laboratory animals

-This breakthrough led to abuse of these compounds by bodybuilders and weightlifters and then by athletes in other sports.

Adminstering Anabolic Steroids

-orally, injected intramuscularly, or rubbed on the skin when in the form of gels or creams

-these drugs are often used in patterns called cycling, which involves taking multiple doses of steroids over a given time period, stopping for a period, and then beginning again.

-Users combine several different types of steroids in a process known as stacking; the belief is that a variety of steroids will produce an effect on muscle size that is greater but side effects will be decreased

-pyramidding an another common practice in which the user takes the highest level of steroid in the middle of a cycle and then decreases servings towards the end of the cycle

The effects

  • ability to train harder.
  • build muscle mass.
  • help cut down on recovery time after strenuous exercise

Addictive Nature

-User can become psychologically dependent long before he or she becomes physically dependent

-Withdrawal symptoms including: headaches, lethargy and depression are common

Steroid Law

-Anabolic steroids are Class C drugs that can only be prescribed by a doctor.

-Importation of steroids is legal as long as they are only for personal use

-Importation with the intent to distribute is punishable by up to 14 years in prison

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Butenandt and Ruzicka

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                                                        Ruzicka               Butenandt

Butenandt and G. Hanisch published a paper describing “A Method for Preparing Testosterone from Cholesterol.”

Ruzicka and A. Wettstein, announced a patent application in a paper “On the Artificial Preparation of the Testicular Hormone Testosterone.”

Their independent partial syntheses of testosterone from a cholesterol base earned Butenandt and Ruzicka each a share of the 1939 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.


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Near the end of  his life, he made and injected an elixir that was a liquid extract made from the testicles of guinea pigs and
dogs. Brown-Sequard said his formula increased his physical strength and intellectual prowess, relieved his
constipation, and even lengthened the arc of his urine.

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Historical Significance

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Introduction to Testosterone Chemistry of Testosterone Discovery and Synthesis Anabolic Steroids


Cruel Male Leaders

Did heightened testosterone levels contribute to history’s villains?



Napoleon Complex

-The Napoleon complex is named after French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon overcompensated for his short height (lack of testosterone) by seeking power, war and conquest.




Baby Boom

-The “golden age of testosterone reseach” coincides with the increase in newborn’s between 1946 and 1964

-Testosterone was synthetized as a fertility drug







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Discovery and Synthesis

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Introduction to Testosterone Chemistry of Testosterone Historical Significance

Anabolic Steroids

The Future of Testosterone


Prehistory and Religious Doctrine

-Jewish Circumcision

-Egyptian Fertility Statues found in pyramids

The Middle Ages

-Human Castration

-Serendipitous Discovery that the Testes effect behavior, emotion and overall health

1849-Arnold Berthold

-experimentation of castration on chickens

1889-French Physiologist, Charles Edouard Brown-Sequard

“Rejuvenating therapy for the body and mind”

1918- Leo L. Stanley, resident physician of San Quentin State Prison in California

transplanted testicles removed from recently executed prisoners into inmates: some of whom claimed that they recovered sexual potency

1927- Fred C. Koch, University of Chicago’s Professor of Physiologic Chemistry

In 1927, Koch and his student, Lemuel McGee, derived 20mg of a substance from a supply of 40 pounds of buffalo testicles that, when administered to castrated roosters, pigs and rats, remasculinized them.

1934- Ernst Laquer

purified testosterone from bovine testicles

1935- Adolph Butenandt and Leopold Ruzicka

-funded by pharmaceuticals research labs in Germany and Switzerland respectively, joint synthesis

-the two share the 1939 Nobel Peace Prize

The early 1930s 1950s “The Golden Age of Steroid Chemistry”

Research proved that this newly synthesized compound — testosterone — was a potent multiplier of muscle, strength, and wellbeing.


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Chemistry of Testosterone

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Introduction to Testosterone Discovery and Synthesis Historical Significance

References  The Future of Testosterone

Chemical Structure


-Carbon atoms have four bonds to other C-atoms, to H-atoms, or to O-atoms

-Of the 19 C-atoms in testosterone, all but 2 lie in the “skeleton” of the molecule.

-Three hexagonal (6) C rings and one pentagonal (5) C ring are fused together at the carbons to a form a framework called an androstane skeleton.


-Most of the C-C bonds are single bonds however testosterone has one Carbon=Carbon double bond and there is one Carbon=Oxygen double bond found in the left corner of the above figure.

-dotted versus solid depth indicators represent the “trans” feature in which the points of fusion between rings alternate between an atom sticking up and an atom sticking down



<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–> -the fourth bond at these points is not necessary to maintain the framework of the skeleton and in testosterone it is occupied by Hydrogen-atoms or by methyl groups (CH3-group). The Trans ring fusions make the steroid skeleton more rigid and allows only minor movements at the ends of the arrangement.


The effects of testosterone in mammals occur by way of two main mechanisms:

1) By activation of the androgen receptor

2) By conversion to estradiol and by activation of certain estrogen receptors.




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