Glucocorticoids (GCs) are essential for the maintenance of homeostasis and enable the organism to prepare for, respond to and manage stress, either physical or emotional. Cortisol, the principal GC in humans, is synthesized in the adrenal cortex. It is released in the circulation in a pulsatile and circadian pattern. GC secretion is governed by hypothalamus and pituitary. The hypothalamus senses changes in the external and internal environment that may disrupt the homeostatic balance of the organism (i.e. stressors), and responds by releasing corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and arginine vasopressin (AVP) from parvocellular neurons projecting from the paraventricular nucleus to the median eminence. These neurohormones are released into the anterior pituitary where they act synergistically via specific receptors (CRH-R1 and V1B receptor, respectively) to trigger the release of the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from the corticotrope cells into the systemic circulation. In turn, ACTH exerts its actions on the adrenal cortex via specific receptors, type 2 melanocortin receptors (MC2-R), to initiate the synthesis of cortisol, which is released immediately into the systemic circulation by diffusion. Hypothalamic CRH and AVP, pituitary ACTH and adrenal GCs comprise the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. In this brief review, the HPA axis and the various factors that regulate its function are described.

This content is only available via PDF.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.