Cortisol vs. corticosterone

Russell Farris tryggvi at
Wed Apr 19 23:54:10 EST 2000

Dr. Samuels,
        Thanks for the detailed response to my question. You have given me
pointers I can use to dig out more information myself. There were a couple
of items in your answer that puzzled me, however.

"Theophilus Samuels" <theophilus.samuels at> ...
>   Cortisol is the predominant glucocorticoid in humans (and is produced in
> the renal zona fasciculata),

        I understood that cortisol was produced in the adrenal cortices. Is
it also produced in the kidneys?

> The
> enzyme 11beta-hydroxylase acts on two different molecules to give rise to
> either cortisol or corticosterone . . . .

        What precursor does 11beta-hydroxylase act on to produce cortisol or
corticosterone? Do I remember correctly that 11beta-hydroxylase
interconverts cortisol to cortisone, and cortisone to cortisol, under the
appropriate conditions?

> Cortisol and corticosterone . . . . Are you sure you meant
> to question their immunosuppressive qualities?

        I have read dozens of papers and abstracts that deal with the fact
that cortisol encourages the growth of many pathogens in humans, and
corticosterone does likewise with animals. I'm pretty sure the term
"immunosuppression" was often used in connection with these two hormones.
What I have not been able to find out was whether corticosterone had a major
role in suppressing immune functions in humans.

        I started studying Chlamydia pneumoniae a couple of years and it has
led me into fields i never dreamed of. I feel like a sixty-year old grad

Russ Farris

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