Familial glucocorticoid deficiency (FGD) is characterized clinically by severe glucocorticoid deficiency associated with failure of adrenal responsiveness to ACTH but not with mineralcorticoid deficiency. Excessive growth was described previously in some patients with FGD, many of whom were shown to have mutations in the ACTH receptor gene. The mechanisms responsible for their excessive growth are unknown. We analyzed the ACTH receptor gene in three patients with FGD and discussed the causes of excessive growth in FGD. No mutations were detected in the coding and promoter regions of the ACTH receptor gene of one female patient who had tall stature (+ 2.41S.D.) and advanced bone age (10 years 9 months) when she was 4 years 9 months old. Her plasma ACTH level had been elevated until then (124-2,684 pg/ml). Moreover, plasma estradiol was elevated for her age (21.3 pg/ml), and it decreased in response to the dexamethasone suppression test (from 25.4 to 6.9 pg/ml). Elevated plasma estradiol was apparently related to the increase in plasma ACTH and played a major role in excessive growth in this patient. On the other hand, the genetic analysis showed that the other two patients who were siblings were homozygous for the R137W mutation. Clinically, they responded well to hydrocortisone replacement therapy with almost normal plasma ACTH levels. Although all patients with the R137W mutation reported previously were tall, our patients were of normal height. We speculate that the major causes of excessive growth in FGD are not only from ACTH receptor mutation, but also from the action of elevated plasma ACTH.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)