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In the placenta the fetus is protected from the high maternal glucocorticoid concentration through the activity of 11[beta]-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11[beta]-HSD2), which converts active 11[beta]-hydroxyglucocorticoids (cortisol in human, corticosterone in rodents) into inactive 11-ketoglucocorticoids (cortisone in human, 11-dehydrocorticosterone in rodents) (reviewed in Stewart and Krozowski 1999).
The enzyme 11[beta]-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11[beta]-HSD2) converts corticosterone to 11-dehydrocorticosterone in the distal convoluted tubules and cortical collecting ducts in rats, and cortisol to cortisone in humans.
Improved determination of urinary cortisol and cortisone, or corticosterone and 11-dehydrocorticosterone by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet absorbance detection.