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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1990 Mar;70(3):729-37.

A patient with hypocortisolism and Cushing's syndrome-like manifestations: cortisol hyperreactive syndrome.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


One patient is reported who has the manifestations of Cushing's syndrome in spite of persistent hypocortisolemia. His serum levels of cortisol and free cortisol were below normal, and 24-h urinary excretion of 17-hydroxycorticosteroids and cortisol were decreased. There was a rapid and substantial increase in serum cortisol in response to synthetic ACTH-(1-24). Plasma levels of ACTH were marginally increased by successive administration of CRH and vasopressin, which were followed by substantial increases in serum cortisol. Glucocorticoid activity of the patient's serum, as measured by a RRA was low. There were no responses of urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids after metyrapone treatment. These laboratory examinations ruled out any known clinical conditions resulting in hypocortisolemia. The clinical condition could also be explained by cortisol hyperreactivity of the patient's cells. In vitro hyperreactivity to glucocorticoids was demonstrated in cultured skin fibroblasts whose aromatase activity was increased 1.5- to 1.8-fold above that of normal cells, and [3H]thymidine incorporation was inhibited more effectively by the addition of cortisol or dexamethasone. The mechanism by which the patient is hyperreactive to glucocorticoids remains unexplained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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