Adrenal Gland Hormones and the Vascular System

  • Ana M. Wägner
  • Susan M. Webb


The adrenal cortex synthesizes androgens and gluco- and mineralocorticoids in a multi-step process. Some of its products, such as Cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol, corticosterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone, and aldosterone are only produced by the adrenal cortex, whereas testosterone, progesterone, and other steroids are synthesized both in the adrenal cortex and in the gonads. Glucocorticoid synthesis is stimulated by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which is released from the pituitary and is in turn regulated by hypothalamic corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and vasopressin. CRH is released in a pulsatile fashion, causing circadian variations in Cortisol concentrations, maximal in the early morning and minimal in the evening. Under normal circumstances, Cortisol levels modulate ACTH and CRH release by a feedback mechanism [16]. Aldosterone production is mainly regulated by angiotensin II and potassium levels, with ACTH having only a short-term effect.


Adrenal Cortex Adrenal Insufficiency Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Autonomic Neuropathy Primary Aldosteronism 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana M. Wägner
  • Susan M. Webb

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