Chapter 28. Cortisol


Marta Sowińska, Dorota Bartusik-Aebisher and David Aebisher
Medical College of The University of Rzeszów, Poland

Part of the book: The Biochemical Guide to Hormones


Cortisol is a glucocorticoid hormone. Its production increases in stressful situations, thanks to which it owes its common name – the stress hormone. It is secreted by the banded layer of the adrenal cortex and is formed by one of the two chains of enzymatic transformations as a derivative of cholesterol. It performs many different functions in the body, mainly metabolic, contributing to the maintenance of homeostasis. The mechanism of cortisol secretion is based on the principle of negative feedback in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. Both excess and deficiency of the stress hormone manifest themselves in serious health disorders. The therapy associated with cortisol supplementation is known and used, but it carries many undesirable effects.

Keywords: glucocorticosteroids, cortisol, hormone, 17-hydroxyprogesterone, 11-deoxycortisol, Addison’s disease


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