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July 5, 1952


JAMA. 1952;149(10):934-935. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930270028010

Surgery of the adrenal cortex is undergoing a rapid evolution, made possible by an increasing understanding during the past 30 years of the functions of the adrenal gland. The availability of adrenal cortical extracts and, more recently, cortisone, has reduced the danger of postoperative adrenal cortical insufficiency and has made feasible a wider application of adrenal surgery. However, many questions remain to be answered, and adrenal surgery is not to be undertaken lightly.

The major developments that have occurred in this field relate to diagnostic procedures for the assay of adrenal function, improved surgical technique, and methods of maintaining life in the presence of adrenal insufficiency or absence of the adrenal glands.

At least 28 steroids have been isolated from the adrenal cortex and their structures determined. The most important of these are desoxycorticosterone (DCA) and compounds A (11-dehydrocorticosterone), B (corticosterone), E (11-dehydro-17-hydroxycorticosterone), and F (17-hydroxycorticosterone). The physiological activity of