Human corticotropin-releasing hormone test in patients with hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical disorders

Endocr J. 1993 Oct;40(5):597-606. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.40.597.


To assess the diagnostic usefulness of a synthetic human corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) formulation (Code No. MCI-028), we administered 100 micrograms of the peptide intravenously to 183 patients with hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) disorders, and obtained the following findings. Among the 183 patients, data from 125 patients were suitable for analyzing the effects of the test. In patients with Cushing's disease, high plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and cortisol levels increased further in response to MCI-028, while in patients with adrenal Cushing's syndrome, low ACTH and high cortisol values remained unchanged. In patients with pituitary-type hypopituitarism or isolated ACTH deficiency, low ACTH and cortisol levels responded poorly or insignificantly to MCI-028, whereas those with hypothalamic hypopituitarism showed delayed and considerable degree of responses of plasma ACTH and little increase in plasma cortisol levels. In Addison's disease, high plasma ACTH increased further in response to MCI-028, but low cortisol levels did not change. In patients with Cushing's syndrome soon after successful surgical treatment, plasma ACTH responsiveness was low or different depending on the clinical course of the patient. Patients treated with high doses of glucocorticoids for non-endocrine diseases tended to show impaired ACTH and cortisol responsiveness to MCI-028. Side effects, including the transient flushing which was observed most frequently in this study, did not cause any clinical problems.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Function Tests*
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / chemically induced
  • Adrenal Insufficiency / physiopathology*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood*
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone* / adverse effects
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone* / pharmacology
  • Cushing Syndrome / classification
  • Cushing Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Cushing Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Flushing / chemically induced
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism
  • Hypopituitarism / physiopathology
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / injuries
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pituitary Function Tests*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiopathology


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone