ACTH-independent macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia reveals prevalent aberrant in vivo and in vitro responses to hormonal stimuli and coupling of arginine-vasopressin type 1a receptor to 11 beta-hydroxylase

Hans Hofland, Leo Hofland, Peter van Koetsveld, Cobie Steenbergen, W.W. de Herder, Casper van Eijck, Ronald de Krijger, Francien Nederveen, MO van Aken, JW de Groot, TP Links, Frank Jong, R.A. Feelders

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Background: Adrenal Cushing's syndrome caused by ACTH-independent macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia (AIMAH) can be accompanied by aberrant responses to hormonal stimuli. We investigated the prevalence of adrenocortical reactions to these stimuli in a large cohort of AIMAH patients, both in vivo and in vitro. Methods: In vivo cortisol responses to hormonal stimuli were studied in 35 patients with ACTH-independent bilateral adrenal enlargement and (sub-) clinical hypercortisolism. In vitro, the effects of these stimuli on cortisol secretion and steroidogenic enzyme mRNA expression were evaluated in cultured AIMAH and other adrenocortical cells. Arginine-vasopressin (AVP) receptor mRNA levels were determined in the adrenal tissues. Results: Positive serum cortisol responses to stimuli were detected in 27/35 AIMAH patients tested, with multiple responses within individual patients occurring for up to four stimuli. AVP and metoclopramide were the most prevalent hormonal stimuli triggering positive responses in vivo. Catecholamines induced short-term cortisol production more often in AIMAH cultures compared to other adrenal cells. Short-and long-term incubation with AVP increased cortisol secretion in cultures of AIMAH cells. Conclusions: Multiple hormonal signals can simultaneously induce hypercortisolism in AIMAH. AVP is the most prevalent eutopic signal and expression of its type 1a receptor was aberrantly linked to CYP11B1 expression.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • EMC MM-01-39-01
  • EMC MM-01-39-04
  • EMC MM-03-24-01
  • EMC MM-03-47-02-A
  • EMC MM-03-47-11

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