(redirected from Cortison)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Cortison: cortisol


(kôr`tĭsōn'), steroid hormonehormone,
secretory substance carried from one gland or organ of the body via the bloodstream to more or less specific tissues, where it exerts some influence upon the metabolism of the target tissue.
..... Click the link for more information.
 whose main physiological effect is on carbohydrate metabolism. It is synthesized from cholesterolcholesterol
, fatty lipid found in the body tissues and blood plasma of vertebrates; it is only sparingly soluble in water, but much more soluble in some organic solvents. A steroid, cholesterol can be found in large concentrations in the brain, spinal cord, and liver.
..... Click the link for more information.
 in the outer layer, or cortex, of the adrenal glandadrenal gland
or suprarenal gland
, endocrine gland (see endocrine system) about 2 in. (5.1 cm) long situated atop each kidney. The outer yellowish layer (cortex) of the adrenal gland secretes about 30 steroid hormones, the most important of which are aldosterone and
..... Click the link for more information.
 under the stimulation of adrenocorticotropic hormoneadrenocorticotropic hormone
, polypeptide hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. Its chief function is to stimulate the cortex of the adrenal gland to secrete adrenocortical steroids, chief among them cortisone.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (ACTH). Cortisone is classed as a glucocorticoid with cortisolcortisol
or hydrocortisone,
steroid hormone that in humans is the major circulating hormone of the cortex, or outer layer, of the adrenal gland. Like cortisone, cortisol is classed as a glucocorticoid; it stimulates liver glycogen formation while it decreases the rate
..... Click the link for more information.
 and corticosteronecorticosterone
, steroid hormone secreted by the outer layer, or cortex, of the adrenal gland. Classed as a glucocorticoid, corticosterone helps regulate the conversion of amino acids into carbohydrates and glycogen by the liver, and helps stimulate glycogen formation in the
..... Click the link for more information.
; its effects include increased glucose release from the liver, increased liver glycogen synthesis, and decreased utilization of glucose by the tissues. These actions tend to counter the effects of insulininsulin,
hormone secreted by the β cells of the islets of Langerhans, specific groups of cells in the pancreas. Insufficiency of insulin in the body results in diabetes. Insulin was one of the first products to be manufactured using genetic engineering.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and may aggravate or mimic diabetes in sufficiently high doses. Cortisone also exerts an effect on salt retention in the kidneys similar to that of aldosteronealdosterone
, steroid secreted by the cortex of the adrenal gland. It is the most potent hormone regulating the body's electrolyte balance. Aldosterone acts directly on the kidney to decrease the rate of sodium-ion excretion (with accompanying retention of water), and to
..... Click the link for more information.
, although it is not as potent. The hormone causes increased breakdown of proteins and decreased protein synthesis, and large doses given over a long period of time may result in inhibited growth in children or weakening of bones and wasting of muscles in adults.

The principal medical use of cortisone comes from its anti-inflammatory and antiallergic effects; it is extremely useful in the treatment of innumerable diseases including asthma and other allergic reactions, arthritis, and various skin diseases. Cortisone is necessary to maintain life and enable the organism to respond to stress; failure of the adrenal glands to synthesize cortisone (Addison's disease) or surgical removal of the adrenals is fatal unless cortisone is given as replacement therapy. Although less cortisone is manufactured in the body than either cortisol or corticosterone and although cortisone is less potent than cortisol, the term cortisone is often used collectively to include the other glucocorticoids, both the naturally occurring and the synthetic compounds such as prednisone. Small quantities of cortisone were first isolated from animal adrenals in 1935–36. A method of manufacture, involving laboratory synthesis from an acid of bilebile,
bitter alkaline fluid of a yellow, brown, or green color, secreted, in man, by the liver. Bile, or gall, is composed of water, bile acids and their salts, bile pigments, cholesterol, fatty acids, and inorganic salts.
..... Click the link for more information.
, was developed, and in 1949 cortisone was first offered commercially. The specific mechanisms by which cortisone and similar compounds act are still poorly understood.


See T. Rooke, The Quest for Cortisone (2012).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



C21H28O5, one of the active corticosteroids. Colorless crystals; melting point, 215°C; poorly soluble in organic solvents.

Cortisone is isolated from adrenal extracts. Its chemical structure was elucidated by the Swiss chemist T. Reichstein (1936–40) and confirmed by complete synthesis. In animals and man, cortisone is secreted in small quantities into the blood by the adrenals. Once regarded as an adrenocortical hormone, it is now considered a product of the conversion of hydrocortisone.

Cortisone is a glucocorticoid in its biological action: it stimulates the synthesis of carbohydrates from proteins, depresses the lymphoid organs, and has relatively little effect on mineral metabolism. Cortisone acetate is used as a hormonal preparation in substitution therapy for adrenocortical insufficiency and as an anti-inflammatory and antiallergic agent in rheumatic carditis, polyarthritis, and bronchial asthma. Cortisone has been almost completely replaced in modern medical practice by more effective synthetic corticosteroids. It is obtained industrially from steroids of plant and animal origin by complex chemical and microbiological conversions.


Glynn, J. H. Kortizonoterapiia. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from English.)
Akhrem, A. A., and lu. A. Titov. Polnyi sintez steroidov. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


C21H28O5 A steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex of vertebrates that acts principally in carbohydrate metabolism.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a glucocorticoid hormone, the synthetic form of which has been used in treating rheumatoid arthritis, allergic and skin diseases, leukaemia, etc.; 17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone. Formula: C21H28O5
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
An Achilles tendon has hampered his comeback bid, with Burley now requiring a further cortison injection after a scan.
"But there was no way I'd make the Olympics if I had an op so we just cortisoned it all year and tried to hang on.
"If I had taken the risk of just getting it cortisoned or waiting for the time being, that could have happened just before London so I would have missed the Paralympics.