Corticoids can be viewed in terms of changes taking place in the general metabolism in the organism. In the evolution of these steroids, a process of oxidation would intervene at the principal energetic centers. To the hydrocarbon, first an hydroxyl and then an oxygen would be attached. An inverse process of reduction would take place as a metabolic process, the OH being the usual form through which steroids are eliminated, often bound to glucuronic acid. This process of oxidation would occur at C11.

Attaching an OH to desoxycorticosterone (Δ 4 pregnene-21-ol-3:20dione), would lead to the appearance of corticosterone (Δ 4-pregnene-11:21-diol-3:20-dione). A further oxidation would change this OH into an O, resulting in dehydrocorticosterone (Δ pregnene-21-ol-3:11 :20-trione). All these are mineralocorticoid compounds.

With a further change, this time at C17, where an hydroxyl would be attached, all three compounds—desoxycorticosterone, corticosterone and dehydrocorticosterone—display neoglucogenic properties. They represent 17 hydroxy derivatives as 17 hydroxy desoxycorticosterone (A 4-pregnene-17-9 (beta):21-diol-3:20-dione); 17 hydroxycorticosterone (A 4-preg nene-11 (beta): 17 (beta):21-triol-3:20-dione), or compound F; and 17 hydroxy-11 dehydrocorticosterone Δ 4-pregnene-17:21 -diol-3:11:20-tri one), or compound E or cortisone.

The fact that the presence of an hydroxyl at C17 greatly changes the properties of the entire group makes it likely that the energetic formation of which C17 is a part intervenes in the specific activity of these substances.

The analysis of the constitution of the corticoids has further shown that they have the characters of lipoids—being polar nonpolar substances— with the nonpolar group predominant. The members studied, mineralo- as well as neoglucogenic corticoids, have been shown to induce a change toward lower values in the second day wound crust pH, indicating thus a tendency to induce an offbalance of the type A.