Glucocorticoids (GCs) are ubiquitous, nuclear hormones, which are essential for life. In man, the main GC is cortisol, produced by the adrenals, endocrine glands that are situated on top of the kidneys. Cortisol exerts its functions in nearly all tissues and is crucial in the mediation of the stress response. Furthermore, cortisol is implicated in glucose and lipid metabolism, modulation of the immune system, maintenance of the vascular tone, bone formation, and skeletal and cardiac muscle function. Cortisol also aff ects brain function including memory modulation and mood regulation. Because of its anti-infl ammatory eff ects, cortisol and its synthetic analogues are now widely used in clinical practice. Indications include rheumatoid arthritis, infl ammatory bowel disease, sarcoidosis, asthma, and dermatological diseases. Additionally, GCs have an important role in prevention of graft versus host disease in organ transplant patients and haematological malignancies. Unfortunately, GC excess due to treatment or endogenous production, e.g. Cushing’s syndrome, has serious adverse eff ects, such as truncal obesity, striae, osteoporosis, hypertension, hypokalaemia, hyperglycaemia, mood disorders and when prescribed to children growth retardation.

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S.W.J. Lamberts (Steven)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
The Rotterdam Study is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam; the Netherlands Organization for Scientifi c Research; the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development; the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly; the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports; the European Commission (DG X11); and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Additional funding for the work described in this thesis was provided by Research Institute of the Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE) grant 948-00-008. Financial support for the publication of this thesis was kindly provided by the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam and MSD Nederland B.V.
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Dekker, M.J.H.J. (2011, January 12). Pre-receptor Regulation of Cortisol in Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Functioning an Metabolism. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from