Adrenal morphology and function in acromegalic patients in relation to disease activity.

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    Visceromegaly is a common consequence of acromegaly. However, few studies investigated the chronic effects of growth hormone on adrenal glands. Our aim was to evaluate adrenal morphology and function in a cohort of acromegalic patients in relation to disease activity. Twenty-six acromegalics (10 males and 16 females) and 21 healthy subjects were investigated. Gland morphology was evaluated by computerized axial tomography, measuring central, lateral, and medial adrenal segments. Uncontrolled acromegalics showed increased volume of all adrenal segments, higher urinary free cortisol (UFC), and lower morning adrenocorticotropic hormone in comparison with healthy subjects. However, normal cortisol levels after low-dose dexamethasone suppression test indicated a preserved regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. In addition, uncontrolled patients showed greater medial segment of right gland, higher UFC, and aldosterone levels with respect to controlled patients. All acromegalics did not show any difference in adrenal size when grouped according to UFC/24 h levels. In addition, no difference was found in any of the parameters between normotensive and hypertensive patients. In conclusion, our findings confirm that acromegaly affects adrenal size as well as other organs. In addition, we report a stimulatory effect of growth hormone on adrenal function, although the regulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis is preserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)-
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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