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J Endocrinol. 1978 Apr;77(1):111-8.

Biochemical characterization of pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism in the dog.


The biochemical characterization of 22 cases of pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism in the dog, is reported. The principal characteristics of the disease include excessive and non-rhythmic production of cortisol, decreased sensitivity of the hypothalamic-pituitary system to the suppressive effects of dexamethasone, decreased responsiveness of the pituitary-adrenocortical system to the stimulus of insulin-induced hypoglycaemia and increased responsiveness of the system to stimulation with lysine-vasopressin. From these observations it is concluded that pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism in the dog is a valid model for study of the pathogenesis of the disease in man. For the diagnosis of hyperadrenocorticism itself, the measurement of the concentration of corticosteroids in a single sample of plasma obtained 8 h after intravenous injection of 0.01 mg dexamethasone/kg was sufficient. The level of 11-hydroxycorticosteroids was less than 140 nmol/1 plasma in normal dogs, whereas higher values were found in dogs with hyperadrenocorticism. For purposes of differential diagnosis, measurement of the level of corticosteroids in the plasma both before and 4 h after intravenous injection of 0.05 mg dexamethasone/kg is adequage: suppression is obtained only in cases of pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism.

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