Corticosterone, also known as 17-deoxycortisol, is a steroid hormone of the corticosteroid type produced in the cortex of the adrenal glands. Corticosterone has multiple effects on memory. The main effects are seen through the impact of stress on emotional memories as well as long term memory. With emotional memories, corticosterone is largely associated with fear memory recognition. Not only does corticosterone have effects on emotional memories but memory recognition and consolidation as well.
Corticosterone is a precursor molecule for aldosterone. It is produced from 11-deoxycorticosterone and is converted to aldosterone in the mineralocorticoid pathway. Corticosterone is the first intermediate in the mineralocorticoid pathway with significant corticoid activity. The utility of measuring this intermediate is for the diagnosis of disorders of steroid synthesis, such as CAH.
Metaplasticity of amygdalar responses to the stress hormone corticosterone, Henk Karst, Stefan Berger, Gitta Erdmann, and Marian Joëls, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0914381107
Both Deoxycorticosterone (DOC) and corticosterone (CC) are down-stream metabolites of progesterone, and precursors of aldosterone, which helps regulate blood pressure through sodium and potassium balance. DOC is a weak mineralocorticoid and DOC and CC are precursors to the more potent mineralocorticoid aldosterone.
Salt craving and low blood pressure are symptoms/conditions associated with low aldosterone and its precursors DOC and CC.
Low DOC and CC suggest possible 21-hydroxylase deficiency, which results in low levels of both cortisol (via progesterone to 11-deoxycortisol) and aldosterone (via progesterone to DOC to CC).
If your urinary free cortisol and cortisone are within low to low-normal ranges it would support the notion of a 21-hydroxylase deficiency.
This is often caused by Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), a condition where excessive precursors spill over to androgens (expect higher levels of DHEA, androstenedione, etiocholanolone, androsterone, testosterone, epi-testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and/or androstanediol) and symptoms of excessive androgens (e.g. loss of scalp hair, increased facial/body hair, acne).
Corticosterone is a glucocorticoid secreted by the cortex of the adrenal gland. It is produced in the adrenal cortex upon ACTH stimulation and is the aldosterone precursor.
Corticosterone is a significant indicator of stress. Studies involving corticosterone and stress levels have found evidence of impairment of long-term memory retrieval, chronic corticosterone elevation due to dietary restrictions, and corticosterone elevation in response to burn injuries. In addition to stress levels, Corticosterone plays a decisive role in sleep-wake patterns.
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