Cortisol, also known more formally as hydrocortisone (INN, USAN, BAN),
When an abscess is not properly treated, it can grow in size. Eventually, the bacteria can spread into the bloodstream and throughout the body, or it can burst into adjacent organs and tissues or into the abdominal cavity, causing the pus to spread throughout the abdomen. Any of these situations can be extremely serious or life-threatening.
is a steroid hormone, more specifically a glucocorticoid, produced by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal gland. It is released in response to stress and a low level of blood glucocorticoids. Its primary functions are to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis; suppress the immune system; and aid in fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism. It also decreases bone formation. Various synthetic forms of cortisol are used to treat a variety of diseases.
Main functions in the body
It stimulates gluconeogenesis (formation, in the liver, of glucose from certain amino acids, glycerol, lactate and/or propionate) and it activates anti-stress and anti-inflammatory pathways.
It downregulates the Interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) on “Helper” (CD4+) T-cells. This results in the inability of Interleukin-2 to upregulate the Th2 (Humoral) immune response and results in a Th1 (Cellular) immune dominance. This results in a decrease in B-cell antibody production. Cortisol prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. This is why cortisol is used to treat conditions resulting from over activity of the B-cell mediated antibody response such as inflammatory and rheumatoid diseases, and allergies. Low-potency hydrocortisone, available over the counter in some countries, is used to treat skin problems such as rashes, eczema and others.
Glycogenolysis in liver and muscle, which is stimulated by epinephrine and/or norepinephrine, is facilitated by cortisol through effects on activation of glycogen phosphorylase.
Elevated levels of cortisol, if prolonged, can lead to proteolysis and muscle wasting.
Several studies have shown a lipolytic effect of cortisol, although under some conditions, cortisol may somewhat suppress lipolysis.
Another function is to decrease bone formation.
During human pregnancy, increased fetal production of cortisol between weeks 30 and 32 initiates production of fetal lung surfactant to promote maturation of the lungs. In fetal lambs, glucocorticoids (principally cortisol) increase after about day 130, with lung surfactant increasing greatly by about day 135, and although lamb fetal cortisol is mostly of maternal origin during the first 122 days, 88 percent or more is of fetal origin by day 136 of gestation. Although the timing of fetal cortisol concentration elevation in sheep may vary somewhat, it averages about 11.8 days before the onset of labor.