Key Difference – Glucocorticoids vs Corticosteroids
The corticosteroids are highly specific class of steroids hormones that are produced by the adrenal cortex of the vertebrates. Nowadays synthetic analogues for these steroid hormones are profoundly found in the market. There are two main types of corticosteroids namely Glucocorticoids and Mineralcorticoids. These hormones are having range of physiological functions in the human body. These include stress response, immune response, regulation of inflammation process, carbohydrate metabolism, and protein metabolism, balancing blood electrolyte levels and regulating behavioral characters. Cortisol (C21H30O5), corticosterone (C21H30O4) and cortisone (C21H28O5) are some of the naturally occurring glucocorticoids. On the other hand, aldosterone (C21H28O5) is a naturally occurring mineralcorticoid. Though cortisone and aldosterone have same chemical formula, they are found to be structurally different. Therefore, the key difference between glucocorticoids and corticosteroids is, glucocorticoids are referred to only one type of corticosteroid. On the other hand, corticosteroids are referred to both glucocorticoids and mineralcorticoids collectively.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Glucocorticoids
3. What are Corticosteroids
4. Similarities Between Glucocorticoid and Corticosteroid
5. Side by Side Comparison – Glucocorticoids vs Corticosteroids in Tabular Form
What are Glucocorticoids?
Glucocorticoids are the class of steroids hormones that are produced from Zona Fasciculata of adrenal cortex of vertebrate. These hormones bind to the glucocorticoid receptor (GR-receptor) in vertebrate animal cells. This specific binding (GR complex) activates anti-inflammatory proteins in the nucleus. And represses the pro anti-inflammatory proteins in the cytosol by preventing translocation of other transcription factors from the cytosol into the nucleus.
The glucocorticoids are different from mineralocorticoids and sex steroids because of their distinguished receptors, target cells, and physiological function. Cortisol, cortisone, and corticosterone are some of the naturally occurring glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids are under the tight control of ACTH of the adenohypophysis. Dexamethasone (using in skin diseases, asthma) and Hydrocortisone (using in adrenal insufficiency and congenital adrenal hyperplasia) are pure derivatives of glucocorticoids.
Glucocorticoids are shown following specific functions,
- These hormones are regulating carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism.
- They stimulate gluconeogenesis.
- They stimulate anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect.
- These hormones are involving in repairing injuries and managing stress response.
- They usually dull pain.
What are Corticosteroids?
Corticosteroids are the class of steroids hormones that are generated from both Zona Fasciculata and Zona glomerulosa of the adrenal cortex. These include glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.
Glucocorticoids (Cortisol, cortisone, and corticosterone) stimulate and control carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. They also have anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, immunosuppressive and vasoconstrictive effects. Anti-inflammatory effect is mediated by inducing anti-inflammatory mediators.
The anti-proliferative effect is mediated by the inhibition of DNA synthesis. The immunosuppressive effect is mediated by suppressing delayed hypersensitivity reactions. The vasoconstrictive effect is mediated by inhibiting the inflammatory mediators such as histidine.
Mineralocorticoids such as aldosterone control and regulate the electrolytes and water balance of the human body by modulating the ion transport in the epithelial cells of renal tubes of the kidney.
Fludrocortisone (that are used in adrenogenital syndrome and postural hypotension) is a derivative of mineralocorticoids. Prednisone (that are used in autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions) has both characters of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids.
What are the Similarities Between Glucocorticoid and Corticosteroid?
- Glucocorticoid and corticosteroid are both steroids hormones.
- They are produced by the adrenal cortex of vertebrates.
- Glucocorticoid and corticosteroid are both helpful in repairing injuries and managing stresses.
- Glucocorticoid and corticosteroid are both having typical “Sterane” ring.
What is the Difference Between Glucocorticoid and Corticosteroid?
Glucocorticoid vs Corticosteroid
|Glucocorticoid is an only one type of corticosteroid that is generated from Zona Fasciculata of adrenal cortex of vertebrate.||Corticosteroid referred to both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid that are produced from both Zona Fasciculata and Zona glomerulosa of adrenal cortex of vertebrate.|
|Glucocorticoid regulates carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolisms.||Corticosteroids control all metabolic processes pertaining to carbohydrate, fat, protein and regulated electrolytes and water balance of human body.|
|Glucocorticoids are anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic.||Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, immunosuppressive and vasoconstrictive.|
|Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone are synthetic derivatives of glucocorticoids.||Fludrocortisone is a synthetic derivative of corticosteroids.|
Summary – Glucocorticoids vs Corticosteroids
Glucocorticoids are only one type of corticosteroid. On the other hand, corticosteroids are two types, 1. Glucocorticoid 2. Mineralocorticoid. They are distinguished based on the physiological function. Glucocorticoids regulate carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. Corticosteroids apart from regulating metabolism they also control electrolytes and water balance in the human body. Both glucocorticoids and corticosteroids are showing anti-inflammatory responses. This can be identified as the difference between Glucocorticoids and Corticosteroids.
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1.Miller-Larsson and O. Selroos. “Advances in Asthma and COPD Treatment: Combination Therapy with Inhaled Corticosteroids and Long-Acting β2-Agonists.”, 31 Aug. 2006. Available here
2.Coutinho, Agnes E., and Karen E. Chapman. “The anti-Inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects of glucocorticoids, recent developments, and mechanistic insights.” Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, North Holland Publishing, 15 Mar. 2011. Available here
1.’ХПА-оска на стрес во мозокот’ By Dorine Feldker – Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.’Corticosteroidpic1′ By Original: Jean-Etienne Poirrier. Edited: Stefan Larkins. (CC BY-SA 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia