The adrenal cortex has assumed a prominent place in medical thinking during the past few years, particularly because of the apparently dramatic therapeutic effects of certain of the cortical steroids in arthritis and allied conditions. A wide variety of therapeutic effects of these substances might well be expected, since, as is described in a current review of the subject,1 the adrenal cortex is involved in many fundamental metabolic processes in the body and thus in homeostasis—a phenomenon so lucidly presented by Cannon2 in his classical book of a decade ago. The metabolic regulatory activity of the adrenal cortex involves each of the major chemical constituents of the body—carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, electrolytes and water. While generalizations in this complex field are difficult, it appears that certain of the adrenal cortex steroids have a regulatory action in carbohydrate metabolism either by increasing the formation of glucose by gluconeogenesis or perhaps by inhibiting glucose utilization. Certainly there is ample evidence, from both animal experimentation and clinical observations, to support such a view.
THE ADRENAL CORTEX AND HOMEOSTASIS. JAMA. 1950;144(12):1006–1007. doi:10.1001/jama.1950.02920120030011