(or /ˈkɔrtɨzoʊn/ (ˈkôrtəˌsōn or -zōn)) (17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone) is a steroid hormone
. Chemically, it is a corticosteroid
closely related to corticosterone
Cortisone was first discovered by the American chemist Edward Calvin Kendall
while a researcher at the Mayo Clinic
. He was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
along with Philip S. Hench
and Tadeus Reichstein
for the discovery of adrenal cortex
hormones, their structures, and functions. Cortisone was first produced commercially by Merck & Co.
Cortisone is one of several end products of a process called steroidogenesis
. This process starts with the synthesis of cholesterol
which then proceeds through a series of modifications in the adrenal gland
(suprarenal) to become any one of many steroid hormones. One end product of this pathway is cortisol. For cortisol to be released from the adrenal gland a cascade of signaling occurs. Corticotropin releasing hormone
released from the hypothalamus
stimulates corticotrophs in the anterior pituitary
to release ACTH
which relays the signal to the adrenal cortex. Here, the zona fasiculata and zona reticularis in response to ACTH secrete glucocorticoids, in particular cortisol
. In the peripheral tissues cortisol is converted to cortisone by an enzyme
called 11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase
. Cortisol has much greater glucocorticoid
activity than cortisone and thus cortisone can be considered an inactive metabolite of cortisol. However 11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase can catalyze the reverse reaction as well and thus cortisone is also the inactive precursor molecule of the active hormone cortisol. Cortisone is activated through hydrogenation
of the 11-keto-group and is thus sometimes referred to as hydrocortisone
Effects and uses
Cortisol, a glucocorticoid
, and adrenaline
are the main hormones released by the body as a reaction to stress. They elevate blood pressure and prepare the body for a fight or flight response
Cortisone is sometimes used as a drug to treat a variety of ailments. It can be administered intravenously or cutaneously.
One of cortisone's effects on the body, and a potentially harmful side effect when administered clinically, is the suppression of the immune system. This could be the explanation for the apparent correlation between high stress and sickness. The suppression of the immune system may be important in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as severe IgE-mediated allergies.
Cortisone is less powerful than a similar steroid cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for 95% of the effects of the glucocorticosteroids while cortisone is about 4 or 5%. Corticosterone is even less important. Cortisol decreases the uptake of glucose by cells and increases glucose release by the liver. This may cause hyperglycemia in a well-fed state but can maintain blood glucose levels in (stressful) fasting states.
- Merck Index, 11th Edition, 2533
- Woodward R. B., Sondheimer F., Taub D. (1951). "The Total Synthesis of Cortisone". Journal of the American Chemical Society 73 4057–4057.
- Ingle D. J. (1950). "The biologic properties of cortisone: a review". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology 10 1312–1354.