Cortisone is one of several end-products of a process called steroidogenesis. This process starts with the synthesis of cholesterol, which then proceeds through a series of modifications in the adrenal gland (suprarenal) to become any one of many steroid hormones. One end-product of this pathway is cortisol. For cortisol to be released from the adrenal gland, a cascade of signaling occurs. Corticotropin-releasing hormone released from the hypothalamus stimulates corticotrophs in the anterior pituitary to release ACTH, which relays the signal to the adrenal cortex. Here, the zona fasciculata and zona reticularis, in response to ACTH, secrete glucocorticoids, in particular cortisol. In the peripheral tissues, cortisol is converted to cortisone by the enzyme11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase. Cortisol has much greater glucocorticoid activity than cortisone, and, thus, cortisone can be considered an inactive metabolite of cortisol. However, 11-beta-steroid dehydrogenase can catalyze the reverse reaction as well, and, thus, cortisone is also the inactive precursor molecule of the active hormone cortisol. Cortisone is activated through hydrogenation of the 11-keto-group, and cortisol is, thus, sometimes referred to as hydrocortisone.
Cortisone is a common treatment for a severe sore throat that occurs commonly with EBV infectious mononucleosis. Cortisone does not decrease the duration of the viral infection, but is used purely to increase the comfort of a patient with trouble speaking or swallowing as a result of the mononucleosis-induced swollen throat.
^Quirke, Viviane (2005). "Making British Cortisone: Glaxo and the development of Corticosteroids in Britain in the 1950s–1960s". Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences36 (4): 645. doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2005.09.001.
^Zanon, E; Jungwirth, W; Anderl, H (1992). "Cortisone jet injection as therapy of hypertrophic scars and keloids". Handchirurgie, Mikrochirurgie, plastische Chirurgie : Organ der Deutschsprachigen Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Handchirurgie : Organ der Deutschsprachigen Arbeitsgemeinschaft fur Mikrochirurgie der Peripheren Nerven und Gefasse : Organ der V24 (2): 100–2. PMID1582609.