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Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH)

Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotrophin) is a polypeptide hormone synthesised (from POMC, pro-opiomelanocortin) and secreted from corticotropes in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland in response to the hormone corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) released by the hypothalamus. It consists of 39 amino acids with a molecular weight of 4540 Da.
ACTH regulates steroid synthesis by the adrenal cortex. ACTH stimulates the secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Cortisol and other glucocorticoids increase glucose production, inhibit protein synthesis and increase protein breakdown, stimulate lipolysis, and affect immunological and inflammatory responses.Too much ACTH can result in overproduction of cortisol which can cause Cushing’s syndrome.
Too much ACTH can be caused by benign pituitary adenoma. Other causes of Cushing’s syndrome (too much cortisol) include ectopic production of ACTH as encountered in some lungs tumors and benign and malignant adrenal tumors. The most common cause of Cushing’s syndrome is exogenous ingestion of glucorticoids.

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