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What are the main functions of glucocorticoids and what do they mean?

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trusthonesty | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 25, 2010 at 3:34 PM via web

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What are the main functions of glucocorticoids and what do they mean?

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dano7744 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted May 25, 2010 at 6:05 PM (Answer #1)

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Glucocorticoids or GC's are hormones secreted by the adrenal cortex. The adrenal glands are superior to your kidneys(right above the kidneys)and have several different functions. GC's help maintain normal blood glucose concentrations by increasing gluconeogenesis, a process that converts amino acids and or fatty acids to glucose. Gluconeogenesis is accomplished chiefly in the liver. GC's also help to maintain normal blood pressure by directing epinephrine to partially constrict blood vessels thereby maintaining the BP. GC's also have antiinflammatory effects. You may have used over the counter hydrocortisone cream to relieve a skin rash. This works for your skin rash because it is based on the antiinflammatory effects of glucocorticoids. GC's also have some negative effects on the body like bringing about a decrease in the number of cells that help you fight disease, this is called the anti-immunity effect.

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ako6777 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 26, 2010 at 7:02 AM (Answer #2)

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Glucocorticoids are a steroid that is present in human cells. Glucocorticoids are produced in the human body, specifically the adrenal cortex, and play a large role in our immune functioning. Glucocorticoids help slow down or turn off the body's immune response.  One immune response that it helps with is inflammation.  Due to its impact on immune responses it is used for medical purposes to alleviate immune symptoms.  It is commonly used to treat allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.  Glucocorticoids are also being used in cancer treatment due to their ability to interference with cancer cell development.

 

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted May 26, 2010 at 10:01 AM (Answer #3)

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A glucocorticoid is a hormone that affects the metabolism of fats and proteins, but especially carbohydrates. Glucocorticoids are produced in the cortex of the adrenal gland and is classified as a steroid. While glucocorticoids are naturally produced, they can also be synthesized in laboratories by scientists. Cortisol is an example of a glucocorticoid.

When people do not produce the right amount of this hormone they are subject to metabolism problems. Although these problems are not acutely life threatening they can become that way if not treated properly. Cushings disease is an example of a disorder directly related to glucocorticoids. People with Cushings disease often display symptoms such as hypertension, obesity, and thin skin. They may develop diabetes as well.

Glucocorticoids are often prescribed as anti-inflammatory drugs. They also have immunosuppressive properties.

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