In three female patients with Cushing's disease, 100 μg of synthetic ovine corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) were administered before surgery and 1 week after transsphenoidal microadenomectomy. In these patients a test with lysine-vasopressin (LVP), 10 U intramuscularly, was also performed before and after pituitary surgery. Before surgery, both stimuli induced a clear increase in plasma ACTH and cortisol in all patients; the response of ACTH to CRF was of greater magnitude. Postoperatively, the responses were virtually absent in two patients, but were still present in the third one in whom the removal of adenoma had been partially unsuccessful. The CRF test was also performed in a female patient with Cushing's syndrome due to adrenal adenoma; in this patient no responses of plasma ACTH and cortisol to CRF were recorded. This paper demonstrates that pituitary microadenomas causing Cushing's disease may retain the ability to respond to CRF; this stimulus may be useful in the differential diagnosis between ACTH-dependent and independent Cushing's syndrome; the lack of response after microadenomectomy indicates successful removal of the tumor. CRF is more potent than LVP in releasing ACTH at the doses employed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism