/kawr"teuh zohn', -sohn'/, n.1. Biochem. a steroid hormone of the adrenal cortex, C21H28O5, active in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.2. Pharm. a commercial form of this compound, obtained by extraction from the adrenal glands of certain domesticated animals or produced synthetically, used chiefly in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatic fever, certain allergies, and other systemic conditions.[1949; shortening of cortico-sterone; see STEROL, -ONE]
* * *It participates in the regulation of the conversion of proteins to carbohydrates, and to some extent it regulates salt metabolism. Introduced medically in 1948 for its anti-inflammatory effect to treat arthritis, it has been largely replaced by related compounds that do not produce its undesired side effects, which include edema, increased stomach acidity, and imbalances in sodium, potassium, and nitrogen metabolism. See also Cushing syndrome.
* * *▪ hormonea steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. Introduced in 1948 for its anti-inflammatory effect in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, it has been largely replaced by related compounds that do not produce certain undesirable side effects.Cortisone and numerous other steroids were isolated from secretions of the adrenal cortex in the period 1935–48 by the American biochemist Edward C. Kendall (Kendall, Edward Calvin) following earlier observations that the secretions of the adrenal cortex are essential to life. Amounts of these substances available from natural sources were too small for clinical evaluation, but a useful amount of cortisone was produced from deoxycholic acid, a bile constituent. In 1948 Kendall and Philip S. Hench tried out cortisone on patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Their clinical trials were dramatically successful, and refinements of the preparative process reduced the cost of the drug from $200 per gram in 1949 to 50 cents in 1965.Cortisone is active primarily as an agent for the rapid conversion of proteins to carbohydrates (a glucocorticoid) and to some extent regulates the salt metabolism of the body (a mineralocorticoid). The therapeutic dose, however, when used as an anti-inflammatory drug, is much larger than the amount normally present in the body, and the minor functions of the hormone become exaggerated, leading to edema (swelling), increased gastric acidity, and imbalances in metabolism of sodium, potassium, and nitrogen. Continued research has resulted in drugs in which the glucocorticoid activity is enhanced and undesirable actions are practically eliminated.
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