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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Adrenocortical Hormones

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Functions of the Glucocorticoids

Even though mineralocorticoids can save the life of an acutely adrenalectomized animal, the animal still is far from normal.

Functions of the Glucocorticoids

Even though mineralocorticoids can save the life of an acutely adrenalectomized animal, the animal still is far from normal. Instead, its metabolic systems for utilization of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats remain considerably deranged. 

Furthermore, the animal cannot resist different types of physical or even mental stress, and minor illnesses such as respiratory tract infections can lead to death. Therefore, the glu-cocorticoids have functions just as important to the long-continued life of the animal as those of the min-eralocorticoids. They are explained in the following sections.

At least 95 per cent of the glucocorticoid activity of the adrenocortical secretions results from the secre-tion of cortisol, known also ashydrocortisone. In addition to this, a small but significant amount of glu-cocorticoid activity is provided by corticosterone.


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