The clinical relevance of adrenomedullin: a promising profile?

Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Sep;103(3):179-201. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2004.07.002.


Adrenomedullin (AM) is a peptide that possesses potentially beneficial properties. Since the initial discovery of the peptide by Kitamura et al. in 1993, the literature has been awash with reports describing its novel mechanisms of action and huge potential as a therapeutic target. Strong evidence now exists that AM is able to act as an autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine mediator in a number of biologically significant functions, including the endothelial regulation of blood pressure, protection against organ damage in sepsis or hypoxia, and the control of blood volume through the regulation of thirst. Its early promise as a potential mediator/modulator of disease was not, however, entirely as a result of the discovery of physiological functions but due more to the observation of increasing levels measured in plasma in direct correlation with disease progression. In health, AM circulates at low picomolar concentrations in plasma in 2 forms, a mature 52-amino acid peptide and an immature 53-amino acid peptide. Plasma levels of AM have now been shown to be increased in a number of pathological states, including congestive heart failure, sepsis, essential hypertension, acute myocardial infarction, and renal impairment. These earliest associations have been further supplemented with evidence of a role for AM in other pathologies including, most intriguingly, cancer. In this review, we offer a timely review of our current knowledge on AM and give a detailed account of the putative role of AM in those clinical areas in which the best therapeutic opportunities might exist.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenomedullin
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Kidney Diseases / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / metabolism
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / physiology*
  • Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Sepsis / metabolism


  • Peptides
  • Adrenomedullin