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Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2006 Jul;31(1):63-75. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Cortisol, aldosterone, cortisol precursor, androgen and endogenous ACTH concentrations in dogs with pituitary-dependant hyperadrenocorticism treated with trilostane.

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  • 1Clinic for Small Animal Internal Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 260, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Trilostane is thought to be a competitive inhibitor of the 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD), an essential enzyme system for the synthesis of cortisol, aldosterone and androstenedione. Due to its reliable clinical efficacy, trilostane is increasingly used to treat dogs with pituitary-dependant hyperadrenocorticism (PDH). The objective of our study was to investigate the effect of trilostane on precursor concentrations located before (17alpha-OH-pregnenolone, dehydroepiandrostenedione) and after (17alpha-OH-progesterone, androstenedione, 11-deoxycortisol, 21-deoxycortisol) the proposed enzyme inhibition, on end products of steroid biosynthesis (cortisol and aldosterone) and on endogenous adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) concentrations in dogs with PDH. Hormones of the steroid biosynthesis pathway were evaluated in 15 dogs before and 1h after injection of synthetic ACTH prior to (t(0)), in weeks 1-2 (t(1)) and in weeks 3-7 (t(2)) of trilostane treatment. Endogenous ACTH concentrations were measured at the same time points before performing the ACTH stimulation test. During trilostane treatment baseline and post-stimulation cortisol concentrations decreased significantly. Baseline serum aldosterone levels showed a significant increase; post-stimulation values decreased. Baseline and post-stimulation 17alpha-OH-pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrostenedione concentrations increased significantly. 17alpha-OH-progesterone and androstenedione levels did not change. Post-stimulation 21-deoxycortisol concentrations decreased significantly, baseline 11-deoxycortisol concentrations increased significantly. Endogenous ACTH levels showed a significant increase. The significant increase in 17alpha-OH-pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrostenedione concentrations confirms an inhibitory effect of trilostane on the 3beta-HSD. Since 17alpha-OH-progesterone concentrations did not change, but cortisol concentrations markedly decreased, trilostane seems to influence additional enzymes of the hormone cascade, like the 11beta-hydroxylase and possibly the 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase.

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