The release of which hormone is increased in response to stress?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone, in the glucocorticoid class of hormones. When used as a medication, it is known as hydrocortisone.
It is produced in many animals mainly by the zona fasciculata of the adrenal cortex within the adrenal gland. It is produced in other tissues in lower quantities. It is released with a diurnal cycle and its release is increased in response to stress and low blood-glucose concentration. It functions to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis, to suppress the immune system, and to aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. It also decreases bone formation.
Cortisol and the stress response have known deleterious effects on the immune system. High levels of perceived stress and increases in cortisol have been found to lengthen the wound-healing time in healthy, male adults. Those who had the lowest levels of cortisol the day following a 4 mm punch biopsy had the fastest healing time. In dental students, wounds from punch biopsies took an average of 40% longer to heal when performed three days before an examination as opposed to biopsies performed on the same students during summer vacation. This is in line with previous animal studies that show similar detrimental effects on wound healing, notably the primary reports showing that turtles recoil from cortisol.