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Disorders of the adrenal cortex 

Disorders of the adrenal cortex
Chapter:
Disorders of the adrenal cortex
Author(s):

Mark Sherlock

, and Mark Gurnell

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0249
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date: 26 February 2021

Three classes of steroid hormone are produced by the adrenal cortex after uptake of precursor cholesterol from the plasma—mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, and sex steroids—with classical endocrine feedback loops controlling their secretion. Glucocorticoids have more diverse and extensive roles than mineralocorticoids, regulating sodium and water homeostasis, glucose and carbohydrate metabolism, inflammation, and stress. These effects are mediated by the interaction of cortisol with ubiquitous glucocorticoid receptors, and the induction or repression of target gene transcription (via glucocorticoid response elements, GREs). Adrenocortical diseases are relatively uncommon, but they have detrimental clinical consequences and can be treated effectively. Hormonal deficiency or excess is usually the result of abnormal secretion.

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