Fallo, Francesco; Kuhnle, Ursula; Boscaro, Marco; Sonino, Nicoletta
Abnormality of Aldosterone and Cortisol Late Pathways
in Glucocorticoid-Remediable Aldosteronism.
In: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vol. 79, No. 3: pp. 772-774
Patients with glucocorticoid-remediable aldosteronism (GRA) possess a chimeric gene resulting from fusion of the genes encoding steroid aldosterone synthase and 11 beta-hydroxylase. In the adrenal zona fasciculata, this may lead to ectopic expression under ACTH control of aldosterone synthase activity and increased formation of cortisol C18 oxidation products. We assessed mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid pathways in three patients with GRA. Baseline plasma progesterone, 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone, corticosterone, and cortisol were normal in all patients, whereas 11-deoxycorticosterone, aldosterone, and 11-deoxycortisol were above normal. The ratios of both corticosterone/11-deoxycorticosterone and cortisol/11-deoxycortisol were abnormally low, and decreased further 60 min after administration of ACTH-(1-24) (250 micrograms) as an i.v. bolus. A low corticosterone/11-deoxycorticosterone ratio is consistent with an increased aldosterone synthase activity forming aldosterone by corticosterone. Similarly, a decreased cortisol/11-deoxycortisol ratio could reflect enhanced cortisol C18 oxidation. Our findings are in agreement with a hyperfunction of the 11 beta-hydroxylase/aldosterone synthase complex in the adrenal zona fasciculata of GRA induced by the new chimeric gene.