Cortisol - the Stress Hormone

Topics: Cortisol, Adrenal cortex, Immune system Pages: 3 (666 words) Published: May 25, 2008
Cortisol – The Stress Hormone

Where is it made?

Within the adrenal glands there is a layer around the perimeter of the gland that is known as the adrenal cortex. A portion of the cortex labeled the Zona fasciculata is where the hormone Cortisol produced. The Zona fasciculata is primarily responsible for the production of various Glucocorticoids, such as Cortisol.

What is it?
Cortisol is a corticosteroid hormone it is extremely vital to the body- when released increases both blood pressure and blood sugar; as well it is responsible for immunosuppression (reduces the activation of the immune system). Cortisol undergoes a process known as diurnal variation, in which the levels are highest in the morning and the lowest around midnight. - Cortisone

Similar to Cortisol, though not as important, it is responsible for suppressing the immune system. Cortisone shots are generally given to deal with inflammation, it treats the inflamed area, but is not a pain reliever. Unlike natural Cortisone a shot is not directly injected into the blood stream but into the tissue area of the inflammation. It is most commonly used to relieve arthritis, tennis elbow, trigger finger as well as Carpal Tunnel syndrome.

How Cortisol Affects The Body

Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) is released through a nerve impulse from the hypothalamus. It’s released in response to stress; the hormone is carried by neurons to the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Upon arrival in the pituitary gland it stimulates corticotrophs that in turn stimulate adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). It is thought Cortisol is controlled by the quantity of calcium moving into the Cortisol secreting target cells. This circuit is part of a negative feedback loop, so as to ensure that Cortisol is not continually excreted. It is important that the negative feedback inhibits the hormones that trigger the production of more Cortisol. The reason being; one side effect of Cortisol is that it suppresses...

References: Ophardt, Charles. "Steroids." Virtual Chembook. 2003. Elmhurst College. 10 Apr 2008
Scott, Elizabeth. "Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay Healthy." 5 February 2008. 10 Apr 2008 .
"Cortisol." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 5 April 2008. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.. 10 Apr 2008
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