Chapter 6. Corticosteroids


Sara Bień, Dorota Bartusik-Aebisher and David Aebisher
Medical College of The University of Rzeszów, Poland

Part of the book: The Biochemical Guide to Hormones


Corticosteroids are steroid hormones produced in the banded and reticular layers of the adrenal cortex under the influence of the pituitary hormone adrenocorticotropin (ACTH). During stress, there is an increased secretion of ACTH, and thus glucorticoids. Glucocorticoids cannot remain elevated for long periods. This condition can lead to Cushing’s syndrome. The excess of the hormone also leads to bone autolysis, which leads to osteoporosis and accelerates the basic rhythm recorded during electroencephalography, causes mental disorders. Glucocorticoids are used in diseases where the anti-inflammatory effect is beneficial and the immune system is weakened. The action of corticosteroids is extensive, they affect the tissues and therefore the functioning of the organs and systems of the body. Corticosteroids are recommended by doctors to treat conditions such as Addison’s disease with adrenal insufficiency. Although corticosteroids are hormones necessary for the proper functioning of the body and are used as therapeutic agents in many diseases, it should be remembered that their use may be associated with a number of side effects.

Keywords: adrenocorticotropin, corticosteroids, Cushing’s syndrome, steroid, glucocorticosteroids


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