|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||346.46 g mol−1|
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Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
However, in humans, cortisol is the primary glucocorticoid that is produced primarily in the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex. It has only weak glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid potencies in humans and is important mainly as an intermediate in the steroidogenic pathway from pregnenolone to aldosterone. Cortisol is converted to aldosterone by aldosterone synthase, found only in the mitochondria of glomerulosa cells. Glomerulosa cells are found in the Zona glomerulosa, which is the most superficial region of endocrine cells in the adrenal cortex.
Corticosterone is the precursor molecule to the mineralocorticoid aldosterone, one of the major homeostatic modulators of sodium and potassium levels in vivo.
Release or generation mechanisms
One example of a release pathway relates to UV-B stimulation on the skins of certain amphibians such as the Rough-skinned Newt, Taricha granulosa; this trigger seems to cause the internal generation of corticosterone in that species.
Corticosterone in Birds
A sizable amount of research has been done on the effects of corticosterone in birds. A brief survey of this research is below.
Corticosterone both inhibits protein synthesis and degrades proteins. Birds with increased levels of corticosterone will have slower feather growth during their molting period and an extended period of poor flight. As a result, many birds have reduced levels of corticosterone when they moult so as to prevent the degradation of their new feathers.
Corticosterone has further developmental effects on birds. Increased levels of corticosterone in chicks leads to increased begging for food and aggressiveness. In the short term this leads to higher chance of obtaining food, but in the long term, increased corticosterone in early life compromises the birds cognitive functioning (problem solving, association of visual cue with food, etc).
Parental response to chicks increased begging is to increase time foraging for food. This leaves the nest of chicks without protection for increased durations of time. To counter this, during extended periods of food shortage, some species of chicks may suppress corticosterone activity and thus reduce the negative effects elevated corticosterone induces.
Effect on Memory
When administered immediately after memory reactivation of a contextual fear memory they can result in diminished memory.  However, there are many different types of memory meaning this result can not be applied in all circumstances.
- "e.hormone | The Hormones : Corticoids". Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- C. Michael Hogan (2008) Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa), Globaltwitcher, ed. Nicklas Stromberg 
- Romero, L.M., Strochlic, D., Wingfield, J.C. (2005). Corticosterone inhibits feather growth: Potential mechanism explaining seasonal down regulation of corticosterone during molt. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 142, 65-73.
- Kitaysky, A.S., Kitaiskaia, E.V., Piatt, J.F., Wingfield, J.C. (2003). Benefits and costs of increased levels of corticosterone in seabird chicks. Hormones and Behavior, 43, 140-149.
- Kitaysky, A.S., Piatt, J.F., Wingfield, J.C. (2000). Corticosterone facilitates begging and affects resource allocation in the black-legged kittiwake. Behavioral Endocrinology, 12, 619-625.
- Kitaysky, A.S., Kitaishaia, E.V., Wingfield, J.C., Piatt, J.F. (2001). Dietary restriction causes chronic elevation of corticosterone and enhances stress response in red-legged kittiwake chicks. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 8, 701-709
- Cai et al. 2006. Postreactivation Glucocorticoids impair recall of established fear memory. Journal of Neuroscience. 26(37):9560-9566.