Not only are adrenal preparations widely used in the treatment of Addison's disease but workers are finding application for their use in other clinical conditions. Unfractionated extract from which the epinephrine has been removed possesses the advantage that the hormones exist in as nearly a natural state as it is possible to obtain them. Fractionation modifies some of the hormones and may decrease their potency. The crystalline products probably are not the original hormones but are more stable forms derived from them. Desoxycorticosterone, the only compound that has, been synthesized, represents only one substance from the adrenal which can cause sodium retention. Sodium factor is another.
Although the number and nature of the original hormones are not clear, their functions are beginning to be understood. A knowledge of the latter is necessary for rational therapy.
The adrenal plays an important part in the regulation of membrane permeability. Winter
HARTMAN FA. THE ADRENAL HORMONES IN MEDICAL PRACTICE. JAMA. 1941;117(17):1405-1408. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820430001001