What is the Difference Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids

The main difference between glucocorticoids and corticosteroids is that glucocorticoids are one of the two types of corticosteroids, whereas corticosteroids are the different steroid hormones produced by the adrenal cortex. Moreover, glucocorticoids regulate carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism while corticoids regulate a wide range of physiological processes.  

Glucocorticoids and corticosteroids are two types of steroid hormones produced by the adrenal cortex of vertebrates. Furthermore, glucocorticoids include cortisol, cortisone, and corticosterone, while the two types of corticosteroids are glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.

Key Areas Covered 

1. What are Glucocorticoids
     – Definition, Types, Function
2. What are Corticosteroids
     – Definition, Types, Function
3. What are the Similarities Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids
     – Comparison of Key Differences
 

Key Terms 

Adrenal Cortex, Corticosteroids, Glucocorticoids, Mineralocorticoids

Difference Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids - Comparison Summary

What are Glucocorticoids 

Glucocorticoids are one of the two types of corticosteroids produced by the adrenal cortex of vertebrates. Basically, they are produced in the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex. Moreover, glucocorticoids bind to the glucocorticoid receptors present in almost all types of cells in the body. Generally, the main function of these hormones is to regulate carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism. They also reduce certain aspects of immune function, including inflammation through feedback mechanisms. Through this, they prevent overreaction of the immune system in allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Glucocorticoids vs Corticosteroids

Figure 1: Cortisol

Furthermore, different types of glucocorticoids include cortisol, cortisone, corticosterone, etc. However, cortisol or hydrocortisone is the most important form of glucocorticoid. Generally, it is an essential hormone which helps to regulate metabolic, cardiovascular, immunologic, and homeostatic functions.  

What are Corticosteroids 

Corticosteroids are steroid hormones produced in the adrenal cortex. There are two types of corticosteroids: glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. Generally, mineralocorticoids are produced in the zona glomerulosa of the adrenal cortex. They act upon mineralocorticoid receptors. Two common mineralocorticoids include aldosterone and deoxycorticosterone. Also, their main function is to regulate electrolyte and water balance of the body through the modulation of ion transport in the renal tubules. 

What is the Difference Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids

Figure 2: Biosynthesis of Corticosteroids

Moreover, drugs with a corticosteroid-like effect are important in the treatment of various medical conditions. For example, Dexamethasone is a derivative of pure glucocorticoids. Besides, hydrocortisone is an important drug for hormone replacement therapy. On the other hand, prednisone is a drug with both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid action. Furthermore, Fludrocortisone is a synthetic form of mineralocorticoids.  

Similarities Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids 

  • Glucocorticoids and corticosteroids are two types of hormones produced by the adrenal cortex of vertebrates. 
  • Cholesterol serves as the precursor for the production of these hormones.  
  • They are responsible for the regulation of different types of physiological processes in the body, including the metabolism, stress response, immune response, inflammation. 

Difference Between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids 

Definition 

Glucocorticoids refer to the any of a group of corticosteroids involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and have anti-inflammatory activity while corticosteroids refer to any of a group of steroid hormones produced in the adrenal cortex. 

Significance 

Glucocorticoids are one of the two types of corticosteroids, while the two types of corticosteroids include glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids. 

Function 

Moreover, glucocorticoids regulate carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism while corticoids regulate a wide range of physiological processes.  

Conclusion 

Glucocorticoids are a type of corticoids produced by the adrenal cortex. They interact with the glucocorticoid receptors and are responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism while regulating adverse immune reactions. On the other hand, mineralocorticoids are the second type of corticoids. However, they interact with mineralocorticoid receptors. Also, the main function of them is to regulate electrolyte and water balance of the body. Therefore, the main difference between glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids is their significance. 

References:

1. Becker, Daniel E. “Basic and clinical pharmacology of glucocorticosteroids.” Anesthesia progress vol. 60,1 (2013): 25-31; quiz 32. doi:10.2344/0003-3006-60.1.25.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Cortisol acetate” By Ed (Edgar181) – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia   
2. “Biosinthesis of steroid hormones (simplified version)” By StacyRed-Wiki – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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