Adrenomedullary Function in Patients with Nonclassic Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Hormone and Metabolic Research (Impact Factor: 2.12). 05/2010; 42(8):607-12. DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1253385
Source: PubMed


Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency is classified into three types based on disease severity: classic salt-wasting, classic simple virilizing, and nonclassic. Adrenomedullary dysplasia and epinephrine deficiency have been described in classic CAH, resulting in glucose dysregulation. Our objective was to investigate adrenomedullary function in nonclassic CAH and to evaluate adrenomedullary function according to disease severity. Adrenomedullary function was evaluated in response to a standardized cycle ergonometer test in 23 CAH patients (14 females, age 9-38 years; 6 salt-wasting, 7 simple virilizing, 5 nonclassic receiving glucocorticoid treatment, 5 nonclassic not receiving glucocorticoid), and 14 controls (7 females, age 12-38 years). Epinephrine, glucose, and cortisol were measured at baseline and peak exercise. CAH patients and controls were similar in age and anthropometric measures. Patients with nonclassic CAH who were not receiving glucocorticoid and controls experienced the expected stress-induced rise in epinephrine, glucose, and cortisol. Compared to controls, patients with all types of CAH receiving glucocorticoid had impaired exercise-induced changes in epinephrine (salt-wasting: p=0.01;simple virilizing: p=0.01; nonclassic: p=0.03), and cortisol (salt-wasting: p=0.004; simple virilizing: p=0.006; nonclassic: p=0.03). Salt-wasting patients displayed the most significant impairment, including impairment in glucose response relative to controls (p=0.03). Hydrocortisone dose was negatively correlated with epinephrine response (r=-0.58; p=0.007) and glucose response (r=-0.60; p=0.002). The present study demonstrates that untreated patients with nonclassic CAH have normal adrenomedullary function. The degree of epinephrine deficiency in patients with CAH is associated with the severity of adrenocortical dysfunction, as well as glucocorticoid therapy.

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