ACTH is a hormone (a chemical that circulates in the blood and influences a person's health) that is made in and released by the pituitary gland in the brain. ACTH increases the production of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Cortisol is a life-supporting hormone, which allows the body to respond to stress. Thus, ACTH and cortisol are called stress hormones. Their levels differ in men and women, but doctors do not know why. This study will test how testosterone (male sex hormone) in men and estrogen (female sex hormone) in women control the stress hormones. This question is important, because sex hormones increase in puberty and decrease with aging.
Last updated: 01/11/2013