CAS number 53-06-5 YesY
PubChem 222786
ChemSpider 193441 YesY
UNII V27W9254FZ YesY
KEGG D07749 YesY
MeSH Cortisone
ChEBI CHEBI:16962 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C21H28O5
Molar mass 376.0g/mol
Melting point

220–224 °C

 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

Cortisone (play /ˈkɔrtɨsn/ or /ˈkɔrtɨzn/; 17-hydroxy-11-dehydrocorticosterone) is a steroid hormone. It is one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress. In chemical structure, it is a corticosteroid closely related to corticosterone. It is used to treat a variety of ailments and can be administered intravenously, orally, intraarticularly, or transcutaneously. Cortisone suppresses the immune system, thus reducing inflammation and attendant pain and swelling at the site of the injury. Risks exist, in particular in the long-term use of cortisone.[1][2]



Cortisone was first identified by the American chemist Edward Calvin Kendall while a researcher at the Mayo Clinic.[3] He was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Philip S. Hench and Tadeus Reichstein for the discovery of adrenal cortex hormones, their structures, and their functions. Cortisone was first produced commercially by Merck & Co. On September 30, 1949, Percy Julian announced an improvement in the process of producing cortisone from bile acids.[chronology citation needed] This eliminated the need to use osmium tetroxide, a rare, expensive, and dangerous chemical.


Cortisone is one of several end-products of a process called steroidogenesis. This process starts with the synthesis of cholesterol, which then proceeds through a series of modifications in the adrenal gland (suprarenal) to become any one of many steroid hormones. One end-product of this pathway is cortisol. For cortisol to be released from the adrenal gland, a cascade of signaling occurs. Corticotropin-releasing hormone released from the hypothalamus stimulates corticotrophs in the anterior pituitary to release ACTH, which relays the signal to the adrenal cortex. Here, the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis, in response to ACTH, secrete glucocorticoids, in particular cortisol. In the peripheral tissues, cortisol is converted to cortisone by the enzyme 11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase. Cortisol has much greater glucocorticoid activity than cortisone, and, thus, cortisone can be considered an inactive metabolite of cortisol. However, 11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase can catalyze the reverse reaction as well, and, thus, cortisone is also the inactive precursor molecule of the active hormone cortisol. Cortisone is activated through hydrogenation of the 11-keto-group, and cortisol is, thus, sometimes referred to as hydrocortisone.[4]

Effects and uses

Cortisone, a glucocorticoid, and adrenaline are the main hormones released by the body as a reaction to stress. They elevate blood pressure and prepare the body for a fight or flight response.

A cortisone injection can also be used to give short-term pain relief and reduce the swelling from inflammation of a joint, tendon, or bursa in, for example, the joints of the knee, elbow, and shoulder.[5]

Cortisone may also be used to deliberately suppress immune response in persons with autoimmune diseases or following an organ transplant to prevent transplant rejection. The suppression of the immune system may also be important in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as severe IgE-mediated allergies.[6]

Last, cortisone is a common treatment for a severe sore throat that occurs commonly with EBV infectious mononucleosis. It is important to note that cortisone does not help lessen the duration of the virus, and is used purely to increase the comfort of a patient with trouble speaking or swallowing as a result of the mononucleosis-induced swollen throat.


Oral use of cortisone has a number of potential side-effects: hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression, amenorrhoea, cataracts and glaucoma, among other problems.[1][2][citation needed]

See also




External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • cortisone — [ kɔrtizɔn ] n. f. • 1950; mot angl. , de corti(co) s(ter)one ♦ Hormone du cortex surrénal, employée en thérapeutique. ● cortisone nom féminin (américain cortisone, de cortico sterone) Hormone de la famille des glucocorticostéroïdes, sécrétée par …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Cortisone — Général Nom IUPAC 17,21 dihydroxypregn 4 ene 3 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • cortisone — n. (Chem.) a corticosteroid hormone ({C21H28O5}) produced by the adrenal cortex. It is used in medicine as an antiinflammatory agent. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cortisone — 1949, coined by its discoverer, Dr. Edward C. Kendall, shortening of chemical name, 17 hydroxy 11 dehydrocorticosterone, ultimately from L. corticis (gen. of cortex; see CORTEX (Cf. cortex)). So called because it was obtained from the cortex of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • cortisone — ► NOUN ▪ a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex and used as an anti inflammatory and anti allergy agent. ORIGIN from elements of its chemical name …   English terms dictionary

  • cortisone — ☆ cortisone [kôrt′ə sōn΄, kôrt′əzōn΄ ] n. [contr. < CORTICOSTERONE: so named by Edward C. Kendall (1886 1972), U.S. physician] a corticosteroid, C21H28O5, used as a replacement in adrenal insufficiency and in the treatment of various… …   English World dictionary

  • cortisone — /kawr teuh zohn , sohn /, n. 1. Biochem. a steroid hormone of the adrenal cortex, C21H28O5, active in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. 2. Pharm. a commercial form of this compound, obtained by extraction from the adrenal glands of certain… …   Universalium

  • cortisone — cor·ti·só·ne s.m. TS biochim., farm. sostanza ormonale estraibile dalla ghiandola surrenale od ottenibile per sintesi, attiva sui processi infiammatori e depressiva dei meccanismi immunitari e autoimmunitari, efficace nella cura dell asma, di… …   Dizionario italiano

  • cortisone — cor|ti|sone [ˈko:tızəun US ˈko:rtısoun] n [U] [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: corticosterone type of hormone (20 21 centuries), from cortex + sterol ( STEROID) + one; because it is produced by the outer layer of a body organ] a ↑hormone that is used… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • cortisone — [[t]kɔ͟ː(r)tɪzoʊn[/t]] N UNCOUNT Cortisone is a hormone used in the treatment of arthritis, allergies, and some skin diseases …   English dictionary

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