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21/84. Gonadotropin output in congenital adrenal hyperplasia before and after adrenal suppression.

    Basal release of gonadotropin and the response to an infusion of 100 mug of synthetic luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LRH) were studied in a teenage girl with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). The initial study was done during a period of poor adrenal suppression, and second study was done after adequate adrenal suppression was achieved. To assess adrenal function, circulating levels of adrenal steroid hormones were evaluated continuously over a 24 h period. During the period increased production of adrenal androgens, the pattern of gonadotropin release was that of a prepubertal child. After 3 months of adrenal suppression the pattern of gonadotropin secretion was similar to that of a normal girl in mid-puberty. This demonstrates the rapid change from prepubertal to pubertal gonadotropin dynamics in a teenage patient following adequate suppression of androgens from the adrenal. ( info)

22/84. Treatment of major depression with steroid suppressive drugs.

    The hypercorticism frequently observed in major depression, unaccompanied by signs of Cushing's syndrome, is still poorly understood. One suicidal young woman, with very high cortisol levels and unusual resistance to dexamethasone suppression, is described. She was successfully treated with steroid suppressive drugs (aminoglutethimide, metyrapone), had a prompt and complete remission and has remained well for more than two years on no medication. This success prompted an on-going clinical trial of this therapy. The available drugs and a working hypothesis of their action are discussed. ( info)

23/84. Bilateral testicular tumors in congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

    A 22-year-old male with bilateral testicular tumors and the 21-hydroxylase variety of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) was studied. Preoperatively, on his usual glucocorticoid regimen, his urinary pregnanetriol excretion was increased (8.0-23.5 mg/day), serum LH and FSH were normal to increased (14.3-28.7 mIU/ml and 13.2-19.5 mIU/ml, respectively) and testosterone (T) was normal to decreased (176-600 ng/dl). At surgery, testicular vein concentrations of 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) and adnrostenedione (delta) were increased (30.1 mug/dl and 38.3 mug/dl respectively) while T was decreased (1,503 ng/dl); a positive peripheral vein--testicular vein gradient was not seen for these steroids. Following injection of 10 U of crystalline ACTH into the testicular artery; testicular vein concentrations of 17-OHP, delta and T increased to 729 mug/dl, 2,390 mug/dl and 9,660 ng/dl respectively. Microscopic examination of the testes revealed multinodular tumors composed of polygonal or rounded eosinophilic cells, arranged in cords, nests and clusters. The tumors extended from the hilus and compressed the adjacent testicular tissue. Electron microscopic examination of the tumors showed features, common to steroid-secreting tissues, with abundant smooth endoplasmic reticulum in close proximity to mitochondria which was moderate in number. The adjacent testicular tissue was composed of immature tubules with normally developed leydig cells in the interstitial tissues. From these data and a survey of previous works, it was postulated that these tumors were dependent upon ACTH for growth and steroid secretion. In view of the high serum LH concentration seen in association with incomplete suppression of adrenal steroid secretion in this study and the association of evidence of gonadotropin secretion with testicular tumors in other CAH patients, LH may also have contributed to the growth of these tumors. ( info)

24/84. Problems in the diagnosis of Cushing's syndrome.

    The diagnosis of florid Cushing's syndrome is usually made without difficulty but diagnostic problems may arise. Five such cases are described. Difficulties may occur when the features of the syndrome are incomplete. Three such cases were encountered. In each only one clinical feature was present; these respectively were hypertension, osteoporosis and obesity. The diagnosis was confirmed, however, biochemically and eventually histologically and there was a good response to surgery in each case. Another diagnostic problem, both clinically and biochemically is the obese, hirsute, hypertensive female. Two such cases are described, in whom Cushing's syndrome was diagnosed clinically and biochemically but in whom there was no response to adrenalectomy. Retrospectively the validity of the original diagnosis is questioned. It is concluded that Cushing's syndrome may present in a very incomplete form and should be considered in the differential diagnosis, even if only one feature is present. It is stressed that obesity, hirsutism, hypertension and depression are commonly found in association with normal adrenal function. Urinary free cortisol and cortisol response to insulin induced hypoglycaemia may be of value in distinguishing these cases from those with endocrine disease. ( info)

25/84. Isolated dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate hypersecretion: a case report.

    The case of a 17-year-old male with isolated hypersecretion of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS) is described. cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency, an androgen producing adrenal tumour, and elevated plasma DHEAS due to an increased renal threshold were excluded. Selective renal vein catheterization confirmed bilateral, isolated adrenal DHEAS hypersecretion. The dexamethasone suppression suggests a functional nature of this alteration. This condition has to be considered in the differential diagnosis of excessive adrenal androgen production in males, or of hirsutism in females. ( info)

26/84. Failure to suppress adrenal function in congenital adrenal hyperplasia (21-hydroxylase deficiency). Three case reports.

    Three patients, aged 14, 16, and 32 years respectively, with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (21-hydroxylase deficiency) are described. Excessive adrenal activity and ACTH secretion could not be suppressed with doses of corticosteroids sufficient to cause iatrogenic Cushing's syndrome, even though part of the steroid dosage was administered in the late evening. The resistance to feed-back suppression was of the same order as that seen in Cushing's syndrome. adrenalectomy was performed in the 16-year-old girl, and was followed by a menarche. adrenalectomy was considered inadvisable in the other two patients. ( info)

27/84. 17 alpha-Hydroxylase deficiency. A combination of hydroxylation defect and reversible blockade in aldosterone biosynthesis.

    We have studied the hormonal secretion and excretion patterns in a patient with the XX type of 17 alpha-hydroxylase deficiency. In the untreated state, the patient's urine contained only those steroids which do not require 17-hydroxylation in their biosynthesis. aldosterone was not produced in the patient and the metabolic product of its immediate precursor, 18-hydroxy-11-dehydro-tetrahydrocorticosterone, was excreted in markedly elevated amounts. This apparent complete block in 18 oxidation was reversible upon long-term ACTH suppression within 27 days. Direct in vitro incubation of the patient's adrenal gland removed at operation demonstrated, 1) the complete lack of 17 alpha-hydroxylase activity, 2) the functional block in the ability to oxidize the hydroxyl group at the 18 methyl side chain. The addition of physiological concentrations of angiotensin to the incubation medium further showed, 3) angiotensin mildly stimulated the entire aldosterone biosynthetic pathway, 4) angiotensin directly stimulated the conversion of 18-hydroxycorticosterone to aldosterone. We propose that in this patient, 17-hydroxylase deficiency produced a decreased plasma concentration of cortisol, followed by stimulation of deoxycorticosterone production by ACTH. The resultant increase in extracellular fluid volume suppressed plasma renin activity. This resulted in a low plasma concentration of angiotensin ii which directly suppressed oxidation of 18-hydroxycorticosterone to aldosterone. This defect has been called corticosterone methyl oxidase defect type 2. ( info)

28/84. "Acquired" adrenal hyperplasia with 21-hydroxylase deficiency is not the same genetic disorders as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

    Hormonal studies and HLA genotyping were performed on the family of a patient with "acquired" adrenal hyperplasia (AAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency. The results of these studies suggest that "AAH", is not the same genetic disease as CAH. ( info)

29/84. ACTH-secreting carcinoma of the breast.

    We report a case of ACTH-secreting carcinoma of the breast. Membrane-bound secretory granules were seen within the cancer cells electron microscopically. cytoplasmic granules reacting immunochemically to anti-ACTH antisera were seen on light microscopy. breast cancers have been shown to secrete calcitonin, parathyroid hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin, and norepinephrine in addition to ACTH. This suggests either the presence of neuroendocrine cells in the breast as a source of such neoplasms, as in the lung, or genomic derepression during neoplastic transformation. ( info)

30/84. Concurrent hypercortisolism and hyperaldosteronism due to an adrenal adenoma.

    The case of a 39-year-old woman with Cushing's syndrome, hypertension and severe hypokalemia, caused by a unilateral adrenal adenoma composed of cells of the zona fasciculata histological type, is described. plasma renin activity, plasma levels of mineralocorticoids and the aldosterone secretion rate were determined before and after surgical removal of the adenoma. The tumor appeared to produce autonomously cortisol as well as corticosterone, 18-hydroxycorticosterone and aldosterone. This condition has not previously been described in the literature and might be explained by strong expression of the full spectrum of activities of the mitochondrial enzyme P450 C11 by the tumor cells. Interestingly, despite hyperaldosteronism, plasma renin activity was not suppressed. ( info)
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