A hormone that predominantly affects the metabolism of carbohydrates and, to a lesser extent, fats and proteins (and has other effects). Glucocorticoids are made in the outside portion (the cortex) of the adrenal gland and chemically classed as steroids. Cortisol is the major natural glucocorticoid. The term glucocorticoid also applies to equivalent hormones synthesized in the laboratory.
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1. Any steroid-like compound capable of significantly influencing intermediary metabolism such as promotion of hepatic glycogen deposition, and of exerting a clinically useful anti-inflammatory effect. Cortisol (hydrocortisone) is the most potent of the naturally occurring glucocorticoids; most semisynthetic glucocorticoids are cortisol derivatives. 2. Denoting this type of biologic activity. SYN: glycocorticoid.

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glu·co·cor·ti·coid -'kȯrt-i-.kȯid n any of a group of corticosteroids (as cortisol or dexamethasone) that are involved esp. in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, that tend to increase liver glycogen and blood sugar by increasing gluconeogenesis, that are anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive, and that are used widely in medicine (as in the alleviation of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis) compare MINERALOCORTICOID

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glu·co·cor·ti·coid (gloo″ko-korґtĭ-koid) 1. any of the corticosteroids (steroids produced by the adrenal cortex) that regulate carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism and inhibit the release of corticotropin. They also affect muscle tone and the microcirculation, participate in the maintenance of arterial blood pressure, increase gastric secretion, alter connective tissue response to injury, impede cartilage production, inhibit inflammatory, allergic, and immune responses, invoke shrinkage of lymphatic tissue, reduce the number of circulating lymphocytes, and affect the functions of the central nervous system. Some exert varying degrees of mineralocorticoid activity. In humans the most important ones are cortisol, cortisone, and corticosterone. Cf. mineralocorticoid. 2. of, pertaining to, having the properties or effects of, or resembling one of these substances.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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