In this chapter, the biomedical application of steroid-based compounds at “beyond the molecule”—supramolecular level—is reviewed. The renewable and economic natural steroid compounds could be employed as building blocks in the design and construction of steroid-based supramolecular systems. The specific physicochemical features (size, shape, topology, hydrophobicity, chemical modifiability, etc.) and biological properties (biocompatibility, biodegradability, bioaffinity, etc.) could be integrated into functional supramolecular systems by chemical synthesis, modification and intermolecular interactions (such as hydrogen bonding, π-π stacking, van der Waals forces, inclusion interactions, chiral interactions, electrostatic interactions, and so on). The steroid-based (supra)molecules could be employed for molecular recognition and/or be self-assembled into various functional supramolecular assemblies for biomedical applications. The specific physicochemical and biological properties, good biocompatibility, and biological activity endow the steroid-based supramolecular systems good feasibility to be employed in biomolecular recognition/sensing and biomolecular transportation (gene/drug delivery). The examples in this chapter are exemplificative of the transformation of natural steroid-based compounds into functional steroid-based supramolecular systems through molecular and supramolecular engineering technology, moreover, which may inspire the systematic study of natural product-based supramolecular (nano)materials toward future pharmaceutical and biomedical industry.
Part of the book: Chemistry and Biological Activity of Steroids