Oc

CH2OH

Aldosterone

Figure 13.30

Cortisol and aldosterone are steroids with similar molecular structures.

Aldosterone

Figure 13.30

Cortisol and aldosterone are steroids with similar molecular structures.

2. It promotes the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue, increasing the use of fatty acids as an energy source and decreasing the use of glucose as an energy source.

3. It stimulates liver cells to synthesize glucose from noncarbohydrates (gluconeogenesis), such as circulating amino acids and glycerol, thus increasing blood glucose concentration.

Cortisol's actions help keep the blood glucose concentration within the normal range between meals. These actions are important because just a few hours without food can exhaust liver glycogen, another major source of glucose.

A negative feedback mechanism much like that controlling the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 regulates cortisol release. It involves the hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, and adrenal cortex. The hypothalamus secretes CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone) into the hypophyseal portal veins, which carry the CRH to the anterior pituitary gland, stimulating it to secrete ACTH. In turn, ACTH stimulates the adrenal cortex to release cortisol. Cortisol inhibits release of both CRH and ACTH. As concentration of these substances falls, cortisol production drops.

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