Background and Purpose: To assess the safety and effectiveness of oral methylprednisolone (oMP) in comparison with intramuscular adrenocorticotropic hormone (imACTH) and oral prednisolone (oP) therapies in children with infantile spasms (IS).
Methods: In this prospective, open-label, non-blinded, uncontrolled observational study, children (aged 2-24 months) with newly diagnosed IS presenting with hypsarrhythmia or its variants on electroencephalogram (EEG) were included. It was followed by imACTH, oP, or oMP (32-48 mg/day for 2 weeks followed by tapering) treatments. Electroclinical remission/spasm control, relapse, and adverse effects were evaluated in the short-term (days 14 and 42) and intermediary-term (3, 6, and 12 months) intervals.
Results: A total of 320 pediatric patients were enrolled: 108, 107, and 105 in the imACTH, oMP, and oP groups, respectively. The proportion of children achieving electroclinical remission on days 14 and 42 was similar among the three groups (day 14: 53.70 vs. 60.75 vs. 51.43%, p = 0.362; day 42: 57.55 vs. 63.46 vs. 55.34%, p = 0.470). The time to response was significantly faster in the oMP group (6.5 [3.00, 10.00] days vs. 8.00 [5.00, 11.00] days for imACTH and 8.00 [5.00, 13.00] days for oP, p = 0.025). Spasm control at 3, 6, and 12 months was also similar in the three groups (P = 0.775, 0.667, and 0.779). The relapse rate in the imACTH group (24.10%) was lower than oMP (30.77%) and oP groups (33.33%), and the time taken for relapse in the imACTH group (79.00 [56.50, 152.00] days) was longer than oMP (62.50 [38.00, 121.75] days) and oP groups (71.50 [40.00, 99.75] days), but the differences were not statistically significant (p = 0.539 and 0.530, respectively). The occurrence of adverse effects was similar among the three groups.
Conclusions: The short and intermediary-term efficacy and recurrence rates of oMP are not inferior to those of imACTH and oP for the treatment of IS. Significantly, the time to achieve electroclinical remission with oMP was quicker than that with imACTH and oP. Considering its convenience, affordability, and the absence of irreversible side effects, oMP can serve as a form of first-line treatment for newly diagnosed IS.
Adrenocorticotropic Hormone-Independent Cushing Syndrome with Right Adrenal Adenoma and HIV Infection: A Case Report
Background: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-independent Cushing’s syndrome (CS) with right adrenal adenoma combined with HIV infection has rarely been reported.
Case presentation: A 39-year-old Chinese male patient with HIV infection was admitted to our hospital due to increased blood pressure in the previous 2 years and weight gain in the previous 6 months. Endocrinological examinations showed that blood cortisol (8 a.m.) was 22.23 μg/dl, the level of ACTH (8 a.m.) was less than 1pg/ml and twenty-four-hour urinary cortisol was 1429 μg/24h. ACTH-independent CS was diagnosed based on low ACTH levels (<1.00 pg/ml), a lack of cortisol circadian rhythms, and unsuppressed cortisol levels by dexamethasone. The ultrasonography and multislice spiral computed tomography scan revealed a right adrenal mass. Due to the HIV status of the patient, we measured the count of CD4+ T helper cells. Laparoscopic right adrenal resection was performed after the CD4+ T helper cell count was > 200 cells/μl. Subsequent immunohistochemical staining confirmed right adrenal adenoma.
Results: The postoperative recovery was good, and wound healing was possible. After surgical treatment, endocrinological examinations indicated that the level of ACTH increased and the levels of serum cortisol and twenty-four-hour urinary cortisol decreased, which indicated that CS was controlled. CD4/CD8 was 0.47 at reexamination, and the patient’s immunity was improved.
Conclusion: Due to the potential side effects of steroid drugs, clinicians should use these medications with caution and closely monitor the development of adrenal deficiency.
Comparison of Bolus and Continuous Infusion of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone During Adrenal Vein Sampling
Background: Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is widely used in adrenal vein sampling (AVS) and can be administered as a bolus injection or continuous infusion. The optimal administration method has not been determined. We aimed to compare the effects of ACTH bolus with infusion on cannulation success, lateralization assessment and adverse events (AEs).
Methods: Retrospectively collected data from patients with primary aldosteronism who underwent AVS with ACTH at a tertiary hospital in China. Rate of successful cannulation, lateralization index (LI), complete biochemical remission and AEs related to AVS were analyzed.
Results: The study included 80 patients receiving ACTH bolus and 94 receiving infusions. The rate of successful cannulation was comparable between bolus and infusion groups (75/80, 93.4% vs 88/94, 93.6%). In those with successful cannulation, the bolus group had a higher selectivity index than the infusion group, while LI [6.4(1.8-17.5) vs. 7.6(2.0-27.8), P=0.48] and rate of complete biochemical remission (43/44, 97.7% vs 53/53, 100%, P=0.45) did not significantly differ between the two groups. One in the bolus and one patient in the infusion group had adrenal vein rupture but they recovered with conservative treatment. The bolus group reported more transient AEs such as palpitation (52.9% vs 2.2%) and abdominal discomfort (40.0% vs 2.2%) than the infusion group.
Conclusions: Due to their similar effects on cannulation success and lateralization, but a lower rate of transient AEs in the infusion group, the continuous infusion method should be recommended for ACTH stimulation in AVS.
Cushing’s syndrome caused by intra-adrenocortical adrenocorticotropic hormone in a dog
A 13-year-old Labrador retriever was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome (CS) caused by primary bilateral nodular adrenocortical hyperplasia with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) expression. The pituitary origin of CS was ruled out by suppression of plasma ACTH concentration and absence of a proliferative lesion on histological evaluation of the pituitary gland using periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) staining, reticulin staining, and immunostaining for ACTH. A pheochromocytoma also was found at necropsy examination.
On histological evaluation of both adrenal glands, at the junction of the fascicular and glomerular zones, multiple cell clusters distributed in both hyperplastic adrenal cortices expressed ACTH, whereas the pheochromocytoma cells did not. These results indicate that a disease similar to primary bilateral macronodular adrenocortical hyperplasia in humans also occurs in dogs, with intra-adrenocortical expression of ACTH, glucocorticoids excess, and clinical signs of CS. Therefore, the term ACTH-independent could be inappropriate in some cases of bilateral adrenocortical hyperplasia and suppressed plasma ACTH concentration in dogs.
Exercise-induced adrenocorticotropic hormone response is cooperatively regulated by hypothalamic arginine vasopressin and corticotrophin-releasing hormone
Introduction: Exercise becomes a stress when performed at an intensity above the lactate threshold (LT) because at that point the plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), a marker of stress response, increases. It is possible that the exercise-induced ACTH response is regulated at least by arginine vasopressin (AVP) and possibly by corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), but this remains unclear. To clarify the involvement of these factors, it is useful to intervene pharmacologically in the regulatory mechanisms, with a physiologically acceptable exercise model.
Methods: We used a special stress model of treadmill running (aerobic exercise) for male Wistar rats, which mimic the human physiological response, where plasma ACTH levels increase at just above the LT for 30 min. Animals were administered the AVP V1b receptor antagonist SSR149415 (SSR) and/or the CRH type 1 receptor antagonist CP154526 (CP) intraperitoneally before the exercise, which allowed the monitoring of exercise-induced ACTH response. Immunocytochemical evaluation of activated AVP and CRH neurons with exercise was performed for the animals’ hypothalami.
Results: A single injection of either antagonist, SSR or CP, resulted in inhibited ACTH levels after exercise stress. Moreover, the combined injection of SSR and CP strongly suppressed ACTH secretion during treadmill running to a greater extent than each alone. The running-exercise-induced activation of both AVP and CRH neurons in the hypothalamus was also confirmed.
Conclusion: These results lead us to hypothesize that AVP and CRH are cooperatively involved in exercise-induced ACTH response just above the LT. This may also reflect the stress response with moderate-intensity exercise in humans.