From the adrenal cortex come two hormones now called Compounds E and F or known by the general name of Cortisone or Cortone. This hormone has a definite relationship to many different conditions, some of which have already been mentioned in these articles.
Both the cortex and the medulla of the adrenal gland are important in enabling the human being to adapt himself to conditions of stress. The adrenalin, as has been mentioned, is closely associated with the sympathetic nervous system. The hormones of the cortex help the body build resistance to all sorts of damaging influences, such as cold, heat, bums, exhaustion, fasting, chemical agents, and even bruises. The hormones help the body to maintain adequate amounts of sugar in the blood. Among the conditions that have been treated successfully with Cortisone and with ACTH-which stimulates the production of Cortisone-are the allergic reactions such as asthma, hay fever, and serum sickness. Remarkable results have been achieved in treatment of acute rheumatic fever with termination of the attack and apparently, in some cases, complete control. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus and polyarteritis nodosa are conditions now believed to result from sensitivities of the tissues to certain substances and which have responded favorably to treatment with Cortisone. Even certain infections and some serious conditions affecting the blood have responded favorably. All of this work is so new, however, that it is quite impossible to say how permanent some of these improvements may be or the ultimate changes in the body that may result from long continued use of these hormones. Apparently the conditions are not a result of a deficiency of the hormones, but rather that these hormones in some way alter the reactions of the tissues in the body.
Again one should realize that ACTH and Cortisone are not identical. ACTH can stimulate the secretion of all types of hormones of the adrenal, including those concerned with water and salt, sugars, and the sex hormones.