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C18H22O2, a female sex hormone of the estrogen group. Estrone occurs as colorless crystals with a melting point of 259°C. Poorly soluble in water, it dissolves better in organic solvents. It is optically active, with a specific rotation of [α]D= +170°.
Estrone was first isolated in 1929 from the urine of pregnant women by A. Butenandt and the American biochemist E. Doisy. Specific sources rich in the hormone are the urine and testes of stallions. The hormone is readily converted both metabolically and chemically into estradiol, a hormone that has higher estrogenic activity. Estrone is found not only in animals and humans, but also in certain fruits, such as the coconut, apple, and pomegranate. Because its structure is so simple, many methods for the complete chemical synthesis of estrone have been developed. The most economical of these was suggested by the Soviet scientist I. V. Torgov in 1962.
Estrone has important physiological functions (see).