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hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex in humans and vertebrate animals. Glucocorticoids are steroids and are characterized by the presence of HO— or at the 11th and 17th carbohydrate atoms. Formation of glucocorticoids is .stimulated by the adrenocorticotropic hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.
The principal glucocorticoids are hydrocortisone (cortisol) and cortisone. Glucocorticoids exert influence on carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, promote the formation of glucose and the synthesis of glycogen from proteins in the liver (gluconeogenesis), and retard the biosynthesis of high-molecular-weight fatty acids. Absence of glucocorticoids lowers the body’s resistance. During the action of unfavorable factors (trauma, blood loss, and some other states of stress), secretion of glucocorticoids increases. Glucocorticoids decrease the permeability of the capillaries and decelerate the development of allergic inflammations. Glucocorticoids and a number of their synthetic analogues (prednisone, prednisolone, and dexamethasone) are used in medicine as anti-inflammatory and antiallergic drugs, since they retard protein synthesis and accelerate its decomposition. Their prolonged use is contraindicated because the body develops a negative nitrogen balance and the healing of wounds, ulcers, and so on is retarded. In children, delayed development and cessation of growth are observed with prolonged use of these hormones. A number of glucocorticoids and their synthetic derivatives possess to some degree the properties of mineral corticoids: they cause retention of sodium in the tissues and hypokalemia.
REFERENCESIudaev, N. A. “Svoistva, funktsii i obmen steroidnykh gormonov kory nadpochechnikov.” In Khimicheskie osnovy protsessov zhiznedeiatel’nosti. Moscow, 1962.
Berzin, T. Biokhimiia gormonov. Moscow, 1964. (Translated from German.)
Leites, S. M., and N. N. Lapteva. Ocherki po patofiziologii obmena veshchestv i endokrinnoi sistemy. Moscow, 1967.
L. D. SACHKOVA