What is the adrenocorticotropic hormone?

1 Answer
Jul 23, 2016

A stress hormone.


The adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is a peptide hormone that is part of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA)-axis. The HPA-axis is the bodies main stress-response mechanism .

Upon stress, the hypothalamus produces the hormone CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) that in turn stimulates the pituitary to release ACTH. This hormone then acts on the adrenal gland to produce cortisol (and other glucocorticoids). Cortisol is a very important hormone to cope with stress.


Cortisol, and thereby ACTH, makes the body ready to cope with stressful situations mainly by:

  • raising blood glucose levels for energy
  • increasing metabolism to keep energy level up
  • increasing blood pressure
  • stimulating immune response
  • controlling heart rate