The supra renal gland or adrenal gland is composed of an outer cortex and an inner medulla. The adrenal cortex forms the main portion of the net mass of tissue of adrenal gland. In adults 3 concentric zones are discernible inside the cortex.
1. A thin external most layer, i.e., the Zona glomerulosa, 2. A thick middle area, i.e., Zona fasciculata and 3. A relatively thick internal layer, i.e., the Zona reticularis. In man, the cells of zona reticularis and zona fasciculata act as a single unit, the major function of which is to form glucocorticoids and to a lesser level androgens and possibly oestrogens. The mineralocorticoid hormone, aldosterone is secreted by the cells of the zona glomerulosa. The enzymes are essential for its synthesis reside in the cells of the zona glomerulosa. All adreno corticoid hormones are steroids.Action of glucocorticoids:
The main glucocorticoids are cortisone and certain closely associated steroids. Such hormones stimulate the production of glucose from non-carbohydrate sources like fats and amino acids. The Glucocorticoids also reduce glucose utilization by tissues in general. All such effects lead to raised blood glucose level. Cortisone also perform as an anti-inflammatory agent.Action of mineralocorticoids:
The main effect is on the metabolism of sodium ions and indirectly on potassium ions. The major mineralocorticoid hormone is Aldosterone. Its most significant effect is to encourage the resorption of sodium ions from renal glomerular filtrate. Secondary effects of sodium retention are raised chloride retention and reduced potassium retention by the kidneys. The most significant function of the adrenal cortex is its role in stress tolerance.
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