Plasma levels of adrenomedullin in patients with adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy

Horm Res. 2005;63(2):90-4. doi: 10.1159/000083942. Epub 2005 Feb 10.


Background/aims: Adrenomedullin (AM) is a recently purified hypotensive peptide and its encoding gene has been sequenced from a human pheochromocytoma. High levels of AM have been shown in Addison's disease (AD). X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy/adrenomyeloneuropathy (ALD/AMN) is a peculiar adrenal insufficiency due to an accumulation of very-long chain fatty acid in adrenal cells and it is very often associated with a devastating demyelination of the central nervous system.

Methods: We studied the AM plasma levels of 22 patients with ALD/AMN (18 with hypoadrenalism, ALDa, and 4 with normal adrenal function, ALDb) and compared them with 18 males with classical AD and 16 normal male subjects. All patients with hyposurrenalism were studied before treatment with hydrocortisone.

Results: Both patients with ALD/AMN and AD showed increased levels of AM and all of them showed a significant difference from the control group (p < 0.0001). The plasma renin activity was higher in all patient groups than in the control group (p <0.001 ALDa, ALDb and AD vs. control group). The aldosterone levels were higher in ALDa and ALDb groups than AD (ALDa vs. AD p < 0.01; ALDb vs. control group p < 0.05; AD vs. controls p < 0.01). ACTH plasma levels were higher in ALDa and AD than ALDb and the control group (ALDa vs. AD not significant while ALDa and AD vs. control p <0.0001).

Conclusions: Our data indicate that plasma AM levels in ALDa, ALDb and AD are higher than controls. These results were previously described in untreated AD. While classical AD patients show complete adrenal insufficiency (both mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid defects), ALD/AMN patients show a less compromised glomerular function, indicating that AM is not completely correlated with mineralocorticoid insufficiency, and that the exact mechanism responsible for the increased AM levels in ALD/AMN is still unknown.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Addison Disease / blood
  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / etiology
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / blood*
  • Adrenoleukodystrophy / complications
  • Adrenomedullin
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / blood*


  • Peptides
  • Adrenomedullin