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noun, plural: hydrocortisones

A synthetic glucocorticoid with a chemical formula, C21H30O5, and used as medication due to its anti-inflammatory effects


Hydrocortisone is one of the examples of a glucocorticoid. A glucocorticoid is a substance involved in the carbohydrate metabolism. For instance, it promotes gluconeogenesis, i.e. the metabolic process in which glucose is formed from non-carbohydrate precursors. It may be produced naturally (mainly, by the adrenal cortex) or synthetically. It exerts action to the cell by binding to the glucocorticoid receptor.

Hydrocortisone is a glucocorticoid with a chemical formula of C21H30O5. It occurs naturally. It is regarded as the main glucocorticoid secreted by the adrenal cortex. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates. It is also key to the maintenance of blood pressure.

Apart from being produced biosynthetically, hydrocortisone is also produced synthetically. The synthetic counterpart is used to suppress the immune system. Its pharmacological role is as a steroidal anti-inflammatory agent. It can be administered topically, orally, or by injection. It is given as a treatment for conditions such as adrenogenital syndrome, inflammation, allergy, collagen diseases, asthma, adrenocortical deficiency, shock, high blood calcium, thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, dermatitis, and some neoplastic conditions.

Possible side effects are mood changes, swelling, increased risk of infection, osteoporosis, upset stomach, easy bruising, and physical weakness.

Hydrocortisone in the bloodstream is bound to albumin or to a corticosteroid binding globulin. Unbound hydrocortisone exerts its effects within a cell when bound to intracellular cortisol receptor.

Chemical formula:

  • C21H30O5


  • Cortisol
  • 11β,17α,21-Trihydroxypregn-4-ene-3,20-dione

See also: