The diversity of abnormal hormone receptors in adrenal Cushing's syndrome allows novel pharmacological therapies
Lacroix A. | N'Diaye N. | Mircescu H. | Tremblay J. | Hamet P.
Recent studies from several groups have indicated that abnormal or ectopic expression and function of adrenal receptors for various hormones may regulate cortisol production in ACTH-independent hypercortisolism. Gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP)-dependent Cushing's syndrome has been described in patients with either unilateral adenoma or bilateral macronodular adrenal hyperplasia; this syndrome results from the large adrenal overexpression of the GIP receptor without any activating mutation. We have conducted a systematic in vivo evaluation of patients with adrenal Cushing's syndrome in order to identify the presence of abnormal hormone receptors. In macronodular adrenal hyperplasia, we have identified, in addition to GIP-dependent Cushing's syndrome, other patients in whom cortisol production was regulated abnormally by vasopressin, ß-adrenergic receptor agonists, hCG/LH, or serotonin 5HT-4 receptor agonists. In patients with unilateral adrenal adenoma, the abnormal expression or function of GIP or vasopressin receptor has been found, but the presence of ectopic or abnormal hormone receptors appears to be less prevalent than in macronodular adrenal hyperplasia. The identification of the presence of an abnormal adrenal receptor offers the possibility of a new pharmacological approach to control hypercortisolism by suppressing the endogenous ligands or by using specific antagonists for the abnormal receptors.Show more [+] Less [-]