Papers And Originals

Comparison of Corticotrophin and Corticosteroid Response to Lysine Vasopressin, Insulin, and Pyrogen in Man

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 03 February 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:267
  1. J. J. Staub,
  2. J. S. Jenkins,
  3. J. G. Ratcliffe,
  4. J. Landon


    Plasma corticotrophin (ACTH) and corticosteroid levels in response to lysine vasopressin (LVP), insulin hypoglycaemia, and pyrogen have been compared in seven subjects with normal pituitary adrenal function. Intramuscular vasopressin was a weak stimulus to corticotrophin release, peak values lying within the range 49 to 141 pg/ml. Insulin hypoglycaemia consistently caused a more noticeable increase, with peak levels between 114 and 364 pg/ml, while pyrogen was the most powerful, corticotrophin levels rising to between 209 and 1,725 pg/ml. Peak plasma corticosteroid levels showed less pronounced differences between the three tests, and correlated poorly with peak ACTH levels. Thus, relatively small acute changes in corticotrophin levels produce near-maximal adrenal stimulation. Under these conditions, plasma corticosteroid measurements do not accurately reflect circulating corticotrophin levels. These findings help to explain the physiological basis of several observations on the corticosteroid responses to these clinical test procedures.