Mineralocorticoid production of adrenal cortical adenomas

Edit Gláz, Kàroly Rácz, Ibolya Varga, Róbert Kiss, Tóth Miklós, László Fütö

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We studied in vitro and in vivo corticosteroid production as well as the presence of symptoms of an increased mineralocorticoid effect in patients with 'silentrs adrenal cortical adenomas, and compared these results to those found in patients with classical mineralocorticoid excess syndromes. We found that under in vitro conditions, cells from 'silent' adrenal cortical adenomas (n = 19) produced substantial amounts of both zona glomerulosa and fasciculata steroids, although the production of steroids in these cells was lower compared to that in mineralocorticoid-producing adenoma cells (n = 26). Patients with aldosterone-producing and 'silent' adenomas had significantly increased plasma atrial natriuretic peptide levels, which remained non-suppressible after upright posture and furosemide administration. Of the 25 patients with 'silent' adenomas, 11 had low and non-stimulable plasma renin activity (PRA) before but, in most cases, not after adrenal surgery. When compared to those with normal PRA (n = 14), patients with low PRA 'silent' adenomas (n = 11) had higher blood pressure which was significantly reduced after surgery, and a mild hypokalemia before but not after surgery. Although basal plasma concentrations of aldosterone, 18-hydroxy-corticosterone, corticosterone, deoxycorticosterone, 18-hydroxy-DOC, cortisol, 11-deoxycortisol and 17-hydroxy-progesterone (17-OH-P) were not increased in either groups of 'silent' adenomas, ACTH stimulation produced a hyperreactive response for all measured steroids, of which an extremely high 17-OH-P seemed to be one of the most intriguing findings. We consider that these observations in 'silent' adrenal cortical adenomas may justify surgical intervention, irrespective of the size and potential malignancy of these adenomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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