Molecule of the Week

Hydrocortisone

October 28, 2013

Hydrocortisone, also called cortisol, is a glucocorticoid produced by the adrenal glands. It has many physiological functions, including fighting inflammation. Synthetic hydrocortisone is sold over the counter as a topical anti-inflammatory and anti-itch agent.

T. Reichstein in 1937 and H. L. Mason et al. in 1938 isolated hydrocortisone from adrenal glands. (Reichstein was awarded the 1950 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his work on adrenal cortex hormones.) Its first synthesis was reported by N. L. Wendler and co-workers in 1950.

Hydrocortisone is also called “the stress hormone”: It is released by the adrenal glands as a response to stress or fear. So expect your hydrocortisone level to increase on Halloween!

More about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.

Rendering of the Molecule of the Week: Hydrocortisone