Adrenal sex steroid hormones

Much of our modern understanding and treatment of CAH comes from research conducted at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore in the middle of the 20th century. Lawson Wilkins , "founder" of pediatric endocrinology , worked out the apparently paradoxical pathophysiology: that hyperplasia and overproduction of adrenal androgens resulted from impaired capacity for making cortisol. He reported use of adrenal cortical extracts to treat children with CAH in 1950. Genital reconstructive surgery was also pioneered at Hopkins. After application of karyotyping to CAH and other intersex disorders in the 1950s, John Money , JL Hampson, and JG Hampson persuaded both the scientific community and the public that sex assignment should not be based on any single biological criterion, and gender identity was largely learned and has no simple relationship with chromosomes or hormones. See Intersex for a fuller history, including recent controversies over reconstructive surgery.

The secretion of cortisol is mainly controlled by three inter-communicating regions of the body, the hypothalamus in the brain, the pituitary gland and the adrenal gland . This is called the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. When cortisol levels in the blood are low, a group of cells in a region of the brain called the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone , which causes the pituitary gland to secrete another hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone , into the bloodstream. High levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are detected in the adrenal glands and stimulate the secretion of cortisol, causing blood levels of cortisol to rise. As the cortisol levels rise, they start to block the release of corticotrophin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus and adrenocorticotropic hormone from the pituitary. As a result the adrenocorticotropic hormone levels start to drop, which then leads to a drop in cortisol levels. This is called a negative feedback loop.

Neural injections of Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) were applied to males of both groups to test for neurogenesis . Analysis showed that testosterone and dihydrotestosterone regulated adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis was regulated through the androgen receptor in the wild-type male rats, but not in the TMF male rats. To further test the role of activated androgen receptors on AHN, flutamide , an antiandrogen drug that competes with testosterone and dihydrotestosterone for androgen receptors , and dihydrotestosterone were administered to normal male rats. Dihydrotestosterone increased the number of BrdU cells, while flutamide inhibited these cells.

People experiencing adrenal fatigue normally have lower levels of cortisol, which can often make it more difficult to sustain healthy levels of blood sugar.* When blood sugar levels are low ( hypoglycemia ), people often crave sweets.* But eating sugary foods and carbohydrates can raise blood sugar so quickly that the pancreas responds with a flood of insulin.* Chronic over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, especially in the absence of increased physical activity, may therefore result in greater insulin resistance in the cells.* In this way, adrenal fatigue with concomitant hypoglycemia may create conditions and induce behaviors that can lead to a greater tendency to develop adult onset diabetes.*

Cells of the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis lack aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) that converts corticosterone to aldosterone, and thus these tissues produce only the weak mineralocorticoid corticosterone. However, both these zones do contain the CYP17A1 missing in zona glomerulosa and thus produce the major glucocorticoid, cortisol. Zona fasciculata and zona reticularis cells also contain CYP17A1, whose 17,20-lyase activity is responsible for producing the androgens, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. Thus, fasciculata and reticularis cells can make corticosteroids and the adrenal androgens, but not aldosterone.

Adrenal sex steroid hormones

adrenal sex steroid hormones

People experiencing adrenal fatigue normally have lower levels of cortisol, which can often make it more difficult to sustain healthy levels of blood sugar.* When blood sugar levels are low ( hypoglycemia ), people often crave sweets.* But eating sugary foods and carbohydrates can raise blood sugar so quickly that the pancreas responds with a flood of insulin.* Chronic over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, especially in the absence of increased physical activity, may therefore result in greater insulin resistance in the cells.* In this way, adrenal fatigue with concomitant hypoglycemia may create conditions and induce behaviors that can lead to a greater tendency to develop adult onset diabetes.*

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