adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)
ACTH production is partly controlled by the hypothalamus and partly by the level of cortisol in the blood. When ACTH levels are high, the production of cortisol is increased; this, in turn, suppresses the release of ACTH from the pituitary. If ACTH levels are low, cortisol production falls and the hypothalamus releases factors that stimulate the pituitary to increase ACTH production.
Medical uses of ACTHACTH has been used in an effort to induce remission in multiple sclerosis, though its efficacy in this respect is uncertain. ACTH is also used to diagnose disorders of the adrenal glands and, rarely, to treat inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and some types of hepatitis.
DisordersA tumor of the pituitary gland can cause excessive ACTH production which, in turn, leads to overproduction of cortisol by the adrenal cortex, resulting in Cushing's syndrome. Insufficient ACTH production due, for example, to underactivity of pituitary gland (hypopituitarism), is rare. When it does occur, it causes adrenal failure.
Related category• BIOCHEMISTRY
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