Steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex (see adrenal gland). It participates in the regulation of the conversion of proteins to carbohydrates, and to some extent it regulates salt metabolism. Introduced medically in 1948 for its anti-inflammatory effect to treat arthritis, it has been largely replaced by related compounds that do not produce its undesired side effects, which include edema, increased stomach acidity, and imbalances in sodium, potassium, and nitrogen metabolism. See also Cushing syndrome.
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