Ciba was – famously – the company responsible for the introduction of the most popular synthetic steroid of all time; Dianabol, in 1959. Their contribution to the field of steroids also included work on the total synthesis of aldosterone, and new techniques for the synthesis of 19-nor compounds and corticosteroids. They performed clinical evaluations on boldenone undecyclenate (then known by its internal moniker of BA-29038),  and they also did some more unusual structural modifications to steroids, testing several “abeo” steroids. 
Though the abeo-prednisolone proved in clinical trials to be no more effective an anti-inflammatory than prednisolone, another experimental “abeo” drug – in this case an anabolic steroid – demonstrated activity significantly different to that of its parent hormone. So significant, in fact, that it deserves “supersteroid” status. Continue reading →
This, the first in our “supersteroids” series, will introduce you to some interesting and powerful steroids that you’ve probably never heard of. Strong steroids are not unknown, fluoxymesterone (halotestin) and metribolone (methyl tren) being two examples that are probably familiar to most of this blog’s readership, however those compounds are not only highly anabolic, but are also very strong androgens. The steroids in this article are not only highly potent, but retain a significant separation of anabolic and androgenic effects.
The next addition to the “strange steroids” series focuses on a couple of steroids possessing anabolic and/or androgenic activity despite the lack of a 17b-hydroxyl function.
Testosterone, with the 17b-hydroxyl group circled.
The 17b-hydroxyl group is the most fundamental commonality between steroids that attach to and activate the androgen receptor, with all commercialised anabolic steroids either containing, or being metabolized to, a steroid that contains a 17b-OH.
“Without any doubt, the attachment of the steroid to the receptor at the 17-hydroxyl group is one of the most important attachments. The presence of oxygen in the form of a 17b-hydroxyl group is more important than the presence of oxygen at carbon-3 and for practical purposes all useful anabolic agents and highly active androgens possess the 17b-hydroxyl group.” 
The key to the significance of this function is hydrogen bonding, an important feature in ligand-receptor interactions. The Asn705 and Thr877 residues of the androgen receptor form hydrogen bonds with the 17β hydroxyl, locking the steroid into the ligand binding pocket of the receptor.  Modification or elimination of the 17β hydroxyl typically ablates anabolic and androgenic action, but not in every case. Continue reading →
Today we’ll take a quick look at some related compounds, all derivatives of butyric acid.
Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid, and gets its name from the Greek for “butter” – and is, appropriately, responsible for the distinctive smells of rancid butter and vomit. Esters of butyric acid (e.g. methyl/ethyl butyrate) are often used as artificial flavourings and in perfumes, typically having fruity odours. Continue reading →
Space: the final frontier
Last week, the Philae probe successfully landed on comet 67P, an icy lump of rock which is over 3 miles long and nearly 2 miles wide – and over 300 million miles away.
Comet 67P, or Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
One of the reasons that comets are of such interest to scientists that the European Space Agency would spend 1.4 billion euros sending the Rosetta spacecraft 4 billion miles on a mission that would take ten years to come to fruition, is that comets could hold clues to the origin of life on Earth. Continue reading →
Royal jelly is the special food that is fed to bee larvae that transforms them into new queens instead of ordinary worker bees. It is comprised of about 3-7% lipids, of which the unsaturated medium-chain fatty acid known as “queen bee acid” is the major component.
Although the ingredient that effects the massive increase in body size is believed to be the protein “royalactin”, other royal jelly ingredients like queen bee acid have some very interesting effects in their own right.
The Designer Steroid Control Act of 2014 (H.R. 4771), the latest in a long line of legislative actions intended to bring an end to the sale of anabolic steroids, was passed by a voice vote in the House of Representatives recently. The bill still needs to pass the Senate before being signed into law by the President, but the writing’s very much on the wall for the designer steroid market.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding and misinformation surrounding DASCA, with some people claiming that it would outlaw anything that builds muscle, including things like protein and creatine, and others suggesting it just adds 25 new compounds to the Controlled Substances Act, and yet others claiming that prohormones would be fine if sold as “research chemicals”, so lets take a look at the bill in a little more detail. Continue reading →