The Adrenal Cortex

  • John T. Gwynne
  • Robert L. Ney


The function of the adrenal cortex is to produce the appropriate steroid hormones in normal amounts. Regulatory mechanisms both within the adrenal cell and within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis normally ensure that this function is properly performed. Production of an inappropriate kind or amount of steroid hormone results in disease. Thus, it is not surprising that diseases of the adrenal cortex are frequently the result of primary abnormalities of regulation rather than of structure. The enzymatic pathways responsible for converting substrate cholesterol into steroid hormones have been well delineated for many years.1 On the other hand, regulation of these pathways and details of their molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. It would seem that a more thorough and accurate understanding of these processes would lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of adrenal disorders. Thus, in the preparation of this review, the relationship of recently reported basic observations to current understanding of adrenal regulation has been emphasized. It is hoped that this approach will highlight the relevance of experimental observations to clinical questions. At the same time, the intent is to provide a sufficiently detailed review of basic observations to be of use to those with investigative interest in the adrenal cortex and the endocrine glands in general.


Adrenal Cortex Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Adrenal Cell ACTH Secretion ACTH Stimulation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John T. Gwynne
    • 1
  • Robert L. Ney
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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