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PCAT Biological Processes – Cortisol

The most important glucocorticoid in humans is cortisol. Cortisol has pleiotropic effects across cardiovascular, metabolic, immunologic and homeostatic systems. All of the following are likely consequences of an exogenous administration of cortisol EXCEPT:


A) Stimulation of gluconeogenesis

B) Inhibition of glucose uptake in adipose tissue

C) Down-regulation of anti-inflammatory proteins

D) Increased arousal during periods of moderate stress


For the PCAT, you only need to remember a few basic ideas about cortisol: it’s the “stress hormone”, it raises blood sugar, and it suppresses the immune system. Here, (C) is false because cortisol would up-regulate anti-inflammatory agent in order to suppress the immune system. Since this is an EXCEPT question, (C) is the right answer.

A: Stimulating gluconeogenesis is one way that cortisol helps raise blood sugar.

B: Preventing adipose tissue from pulling glucose out of the blood is one way that cortisol helps to raise blood sugar.

D: In response to moderate stress, moderate levels of cortisol help cognition by increasing arousal levels, vigilance levels, and memory formation.

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