Evidence against a self-inhibition of ACTH secretion in man

Francesco Cavagnini, Cecilia Invitti, Leila Danesi, Marco Passamonti, Roldano Fossati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To ascertain the physiological relevance of an autoregulation of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secretion in man, we studied the effect of alsactide (β-Ala1, Lys17-ACTH1-17-4-amino-N-butylamide), a synthetic ACTH analogue with potent steroidogenic activity but not recognized in the endogenous ACTH immunoassay, on plasma ACTH pattern in patients with Addison’s disease. Three experimental models were employed as follows: (a) in 6 patients, whose steroid replacement therapy had been discontinued 36 h previously, we compared the effect of alsactide, administered at two dose levels (10 or 100 µg i.v. as bolus followed by the same dose infused over 2 h, and of placebo, on the plasma ACTH pattern; (b) the previous experiment was repeated in 4 patients in whom cortone replacement therapy was substituted for 3 days with dexamethasone, 0.5-1.5 mg daily p.o., so as to lower plasma ACTH levels to within the high normal range; (c) in 4 patients off therapy for 36 h, we evaluated the ACTH response to synthetic ovine corticotropin-releasing factor, 1 µg/kg body weight injected intravenously, occurring during concomitant administration of alsactide, 100 µg i.v. as bolus plus 100 µg infused over 2 h, or placebo. Compared to placebo, alsactide did not significantly affect the pattern of ACTH under any of the experimental conditions investigated. Collectively, our findings, although they have to be interpreted with caution, do not support the idea that a self-regulation mechanism plays an important role in the control of ACTH secretion in ma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-525
Number of pages8
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1985


  • ACTH
  • ACTH radioimmunoassay
  • ACTH regulation
  • ACTH<inf>1-17</inf>
  • Self-inhibition mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Neuroscience(all)


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