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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Paradoxical ACTH response to glucocorticoids in Cushing's disease.

To define further the defect in the steroid feedback mechanism in Cushing's disease, we studied the acute effects of intravenous administration of glucorticoids on plasma ACTH levels in seven patients with this disease after total adrenalectomy. In seven other patients with hypoadrenocorticism ACTH was readily suppressed; a significant decrease (72.5+/-5 per cent, mean +/- S.E.M., P less than 0.002) occurred within 15 minutes of the start of an infusion of 50 mg per hour of cortisol. In contrast, in the seven adrenalectomized patients with Cushing's disease, cortisol induced a transient paradoxical rise in ACTH levels, with a maximum at 15 minutes (347+/-99 per cent,, P less than 0.05). A similar ACTH response was observed with dexamethasone. Cushing's disease is characterized by a paradoxical transient rise in ACTH after glucocorticoid administration. This effect was more pronounced in adrenalectomized than in nonadrenalectomized patients.[1]


  1. Paradoxical ACTH response to glucocorticoids in Cushing's disease. Fehm, H.L., Voight, K.H., Lang, R.E., Beinert, K.E., Kummer, G.W., Pfeiffer, E.F. N. Engl. J. Med. (1977) [Pubmed]
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