adrenocorticotropic hormone

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Related to adrenocorticotropic hormone: Adrenocorticotropic Hormone Test, follicle stimulating hormone, Adrenocorticotropic hormone deficiency


a chemical transmitter substance produced by cells of the body and transported by the bloodstream to the cells and organs on which it has a specific regulatory effect. adj., adj hormo´nal. Hormones act as chemical messengers to body organs, stimulating certain life processes and retarding others. Growth, reproduction, control of metabolic processes, sexual attributes, and even mental conditions and personality traits are dependent on hormones.

Hormones are produced by various organs and body tissues, but mainly by the endocrine glands, such as the pituitary, thyroid, and gonads (testes and ovaries). Each gland apparently synthesizes several kinds of hormones; the adrenal glands alone produce more than 25 varieties. The total number of hormones is still unknown, but each has its unique function and its own chemical formula. After a hormone is discharged by its parent gland into the capillaries or the lymph, it may travel a circuitous path through the bloodstream to exert influence on cells, tissues, and organs (target organs) far removed from its site of origin.

One of the best-known endocrine hormones is insulin, a protein manufactured by the beta cells of the islands of Langerhans in the pancreas that is important in carbohydrate metabolism. Other important hormones are thyroxine, an iodine-carrying amino acid produced by the thyroid gland; cortisone, a member of the steroid family from the adrenal glands; and the sex hormones, estrogen from the ovaries and androgen from the testes. Certain hormone substances can be synthesized in the laboratory for treatment of human disease. Animal hormones can also be used, as endocrine hormones are to some extent interchangeable among species. Extracts from the pancreas of cattle, for example, enabled diabetes sufferers to live normal lives even before the chemistry of insulin was fully understood.

Endocrine hormone synthesis and secretion is controlled and regulated by a closed-loop system. Negative feedback loops maintain optimal levels of each hormone in the body. If there are abnormally high levels of a hormone in the blood, feedback to the gland responsible for its production inhibits secretion. If there are abnormally low levels, the gland is stimulated to step up production and secretion. In this way a homeostatic balance is maintained. (See also endocrine glands.)
adrenocortical hormone
1. any of the corticosteroids secreted by the adrenal cortex, the major ones being the glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, and including some androgens, progesterone, and estrogens.
adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) corticotropin.
adrenomedullary h's substances secreted by the adrenal medulla, including epinephrine and norepinephrine.
androgenic hormone androgen.
anterior pituitary hormone any of the protein or polypeptide hormones secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, including growth hormone, thyrotropin, prolactin, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and corticotropin.
antidiuretic hormone (ADH) vasopressin.
corpus luteum hormone progesterone.
cortical hormone corticosteroid.
corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) a neuropeptide secreted by the median eminence of the hypothalamus that binds to specific receptors on the corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary and stimulates the secretion of corticotropin.
ectopic h's those secreted by tumors of nonendocrine tissues but having the same physiologic effects as their normally produced counterparts. It is not known exactly how the synthesis and secretion of endocrine hormones from nonendocrine tissues occurs. Most of these tumors are derived from tissues that have a common embryonic origin with endocrine tissues. When the cells undergo neoplastic transformation, they can revert to a more primitive stage of development and begin to synthesize hormones.

Ectopic hormones present serious problems for patients and add to the complexity of caring for those with certain kinds of neoplastic diseases. These hormones do not respond to the feedback mechanisms that regulate normal hormonal production; hence, surgery and destruction of the tumorous tissue by radiation and chemotherapy are the treatments of choice.
estrogenic hormone estrogen.
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) one of the gonadotropins of the anterior pituitary, which stimulates the growth and maturity of graafian follicles in the ovary, and stimulates spermatogenesis in the male.
follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (FSH/LH-RH) luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone.
follicle-stimulating hormone–releasing hormone (FSH-RH) luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone.
gonadotropic hormone gonadotropin.
gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone.
growth hormone (GH) any of several related polypeptide hormones secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland that directly influence protein, carbohydrate, and lipid metabolism and control the rate of skeletal and visceral growth; their secretion is in part controlled by the hypothalamus. It is used pharmaceutically as somatrem and somatropin. Called also somatotrophin, somatotropin, and somatotrophic or somatotropic hormone.
growth hormone release–inhibiting hormone somatostatin.
growth hormone–releasing hormone (GH-RH) a neuropeptide elaborated by the median eminence of the hypothalamus that binds to specific receptors on the somatotroph cells of the anterior pituitary and stimulates the secretion of growth hormone.
interstitial cell–stimulating hormone luteinizing hormone.
lactation hormone (lactogenic hormone) prolactin.
local hormone a substance with hormone like properties that acts at an anatomically restricted site; most are rapidly degraded. Called also autacoid and autocoid.
luteinizing hormone (LH) a gonadotropin of the anterior pituitary gland, acting with follicle-stimulating hormone to cause ovulation of mature follicles and secretion of estrogen by thecal and granulosa cells of the ovary; it is also concerned with corpus luteum formation. In the male, it stimulates development of the interstitial cells of the testes and their secretion of testosterone. Called also interstitial cell–stimulating hormone.
luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LH-RH) a decapeptide hormone of the hypothalamus, which stimulates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland; it can be used in the differential diagnosis of hypothalamic, pituitary, and gonadal dysfunction. Called also follicle-stimulating hormone–releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone.
melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) a substance from the anterior pituitary gland of certain other animals but not humans; it influences the formation or deposition of melanin in the body and pigmentation of the skin.
neurohypophyseal h's those stored and released by the neurohypophysis, i.e., oxytocin and vasopressin.
parathyroid hormone (PTH) a polypeptide hormone secreted by the parathyroid glands that influences calcium and phosphorus metabolism and bone formation.
placental h's hormones secreted by the placenta, including chorionic gonadotropin, and other substances having estrogenic, progestational, or adrenocorticoid activity.
progestational hormone
2. progestational agent.
prolactin-inhibiting hormone a hormone released by the hypothalamus that inhibits the secretion of prolactin by the anterior pituitary gland.
prolactin-releasing hormone any of various hormones elaborated by the hypothalamus that stimulate the release of prolactin by the anterior pituitary gland. Most such activity is exerted by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, although in humans thyrotropin-releasing hormone can also have this action.
sex h's see sex hormones.
somatotrophic hormone (somatotropic hormone) growth hormone.
somatotropin release–inhibiting hormone somatostatin.
somatotropin-releasing hormone (SRH) growth hormone–releasing hormone.
steroid h's hormones that are biologically active steroids; they are secreted by the adrenal cortex, testis, ovary, and placenta and include the progestational agents, glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, androgens, and estrogens. They act by binding to specific receptors to form complexes, which then enhance or inhibit the expression of specific genes.
thyroid h's see thyroid hormones.
thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) thyrotropin.
thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) a tripeptide hormone of the hypothalamus, which stimulates release of thyrotropin from the pituitary gland. In humans, it also acts as a prolactinreleasing factor. It is used in the diagnosis of mild hyperthyroidism and Graves disease, and in differentiating between primary, secondary, and tertiary hypothyroidism.

a·dre·no·cor·ti·co·tro·pic hor·mone (ACTH),

the hormone of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis that governs the nutrition and growth of the adrenal cortex, stimulates it to functional activity, and shows extraadrenal adipokinetic activity; it is a polypeptide containing 39 amino acids, but exact structure varies from one species to another; sometimes prefixed by α to distinguish it from β-corticotropin. The first 13 amino acids at the N-terminal region are identical to α-melanotropin.

adrenocorticotropic hormone


adrenocorticotrophic hormone


adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

a hormone of the adenohypophysis that stimulates growth of the adrenal cortex and the synthesis and secretion of corticosteroids. ACTH secretion, regulated by corticotropin-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, increases in response to a low level of circulating cortisol and to stress, fever, acute hypoglycemia, and major surgery. Under normal conditions a diurnal rhythm occurs in ACTH secretion, with an increase beginning after the first few hours of sleep and reaching a peak at the time a person awakens and a low in the evening. ACTH may be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia. Normal ranges are from 15 to 100 pg/mL (10 to 80 ng/L) in the morning to less than 50 pg/mL (50 ng/L) in the evening. Normal values vary by laboratory. Also spelled adrenocorticotrophic hormone, corticotropin.
enlarge picture
Feedback mechanism of ACTH


A gene on chromosome 2p23 that encodes proopiomelanocortin, the melanocortin family of hormones, which include alpha-, beta- and gamma-melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). The melanocortins bind to the melanocortin receptors, a group of five G protein-coupled receptors (MC1R to MC5R) which are involved in a wide range of physiological functions, including pigmentation, energy homeostasis, inflammation, immunomodulation, steroidogenesis and temperature control.

Molecular pathology
Defects of POMC are associated with susceptibility to obesity and proopiomelanocortin deficiency.

ad·re·no·cor·ti·co·tro·pic hor·mone

(ACTH) (ă-drē'nō-kōr'ti-kō-trō'pik hōr'mōn)
The hormone of the anterior lobe of the hypophysis that governs the nutrition and growth of the cortex of the suprarenal gland and stimulates it to functional activity; also possesses extraadrenal adipokinetic activity.
Synonym(s): adrenotropin, corticotropin.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

Also called corticotropin, this hormone is produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate the adrenal cortex to release various corticosteroid hormones.

adrenocorticotropic hormone (·drēˑ·nō·krˈ·ti·kō·trōˑ·pik hrˑ·mōn),

n anterior pituitary gland secretion that encourages growth of the adrenal cortex as well as cortico-steroid secretion. Increased levels of the hormone occur in response to stress, low cortisol levels, fever, acute hypoglycemia, and major surgery.

ad·re·no·cor·ti·co·tro·pic hor·mone

(ACTH) (ă-drē'nō-kōr'ti-kō-trō'pik hōr'mōn)
Hormone of anterior lobe of hypophysis that governs nutrition and growth of the adrenal cortex, stimulates it to functional activity.
Synonym(s): corticotropic hormone.


having a stimulating effect on the adrenal cortex; corticotropic.

adrenocorticotropic hormone
acth, a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary gland which has a stimulating effect on the adrenal cortex. Called also corticotropin.
References in periodicals archive ?
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in blood is considered highly unstable because of proteolytic degradation (1-4), so storage of blood samples on ice until analysis is recommended.
A case of Cushing syndrome secondary to ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone producing carcinoid of the duodenum.
Electrophysiological studies demonstrated the GABA-antagonistic effects of DHEA, a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex, in response to adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) (17).
On laboratory examination, the patient showed decreased adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), elevated levels of cortisol in plasma and urine.
In this case the underlying pathophysiology is further subdivided into adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) dependent or ACTH independent.
More than 60 years ago, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) was shown to be effective for treating rheumatoid and gouty arthritis, yet its current clinical use is very sporadic.
The tumor was secreting adrenocorticotropic hormone, he said, which caused the pain.
During normal pregnancy there is increased production of corticosteroid binding globulins by the liver and increased placental production of cortisol releasing hormone (CRH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH); this causes elevated levels of total and free cortisol which may result in increased salivary and urinary free cortisol levels (Table-1).
When a stress is identified, the hypothalamus releases corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) via a portal system to the nearby pituitary gland, where it stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) that subsequently travels via the bloodstream to the adrenal cortex and prompts additional output of the hormones cortisol and DHEA.
Incidence of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) secreting tumors causing Cushing's disease range from 0.
An adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)--secreting pituitary adenoma accounts for 80% of cases.

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